What is Texxi?
Texxi (Transit Exchange XXI) is a Ride Message Aggregator that makes Trip Packages. It is a set of systems, methods and marketing applied to any vehicle operation firm to allow it to increase its earnings by enabling customers who so wish to share rides in vehicles by using a mobile device (SMS, smartphone, web or email) to summon the ride.
But taxi-hailing has been done before
Yes it has.
As far back as 2001 and probably even earlier. We saw a system in Prague in 2005. Since it is one tiny aspect of what we do at Texxi, we are relaxed about it. The more taxi-hailing startups there are, the more potential customers for us.
Isn’t SMS old hat?
Perhaps, but it is still used.
But this question presupposes that SMS is the only way we would receive requests. Whether they originate by Smartphone, SMS, Voice-to-Text, Hotel booking screen they arrive at our gateways as simple XML messages.
In any case, we at Texxi do not actually care how the original ride request message is collated. We used and demonstrated SMS since smartphones were not in wide distribution prior to 2008. It is hopefully clear that we can process ride messages from a variety of sources and we would prefer to work with any of the dozens of cab hailing startups now out there. In 2005 – 2007 there were few if any.
Do you have a smartphone app?
Not currently since that is not what we do primarily.
What we do is group the ride messages into trip packages, using our operating concepts, methods, patents and other intellectual property to solve a problem that was considered not possible to solve by MIT, CMU, Caltech and others from 1968 – 2008.
There are now hundreds of other suppliers who can connect to our system to get the ride messages processed. This requires a vehicle operation firm to be contracted to undertake the packaged trips and to operate according to the way we have found works. Not easy to get such contracts in place. It requires us to have an operating budget too.
How does it make money
In the same way as any broker (e.g. Expedia, Hotwire, Lastminute) – it takes a cut of the transaction volume. Typically 25%
It is not safe
It is no less safe than a bus, plane, train or ferry. There are always a small number of individuals who will seek to harm others no matter what the circumstances. A ridesharing system cannot make travel 100% safe, but it does not make travel any more dangerous.
No one will share
We found out that people would and did share when we ran pilots of the system in Liverpool (2006) and on the Isle of Wight (2008).
Repeat – we actually tried it and found that strangers shared with strangers (as they do on buses).
It is not easy to get a shift to take place (as New York City found out), but when it does happen, the results are remarkable.
Has it worked anywhere yet?
Liverpool March 2006 – Sep 2006 (135 trips)
Isle of Wight July 2008 – December 2008 (700 trips)
It is very important to note that in April 2009, Jim Morris of Carnegie Mellon University and many other leading lights of ridesharing claimed that it was as yet still an impossibility and repeated this claim in July 2010. We have emails from various faculty at MIT in 2006 – 2007 confirming that they were aware of the existence of Texxi and Eric Masaba. This leads me to believe
Is it running now?
No – we are looking for funding to setup our systems again.
There are certain fixed costs (like the SMS shortcode, smartphone development, elastic server hosting, marketing etc) that cannot be ignored.
The system needs a certain amount of marketing and liquidity provision to begin with, We calculated what this was and will not operate before we have it. Think of it like the minimum speed a car needs to jump a canyon – pointless to try at half the speed.
There is a very good reason why this particular thing called realtime dynamic ridesharing was not cracked for 40 years. We have a plan and past proven success which we can replicate the moment we have the funds we need.
Is there a patent?
USPTO 11/485,164 – July 2006. Pending.
This patent application predates many other patents that companies like Google, Foursquare, Facebook and Xerox PARC somehow managed to acquire in subsequent years. The patent is mysteriously held up in the examination queue and has been for up to 7 years.
How can you find two or more people going from the same place to the same place at the same time?
By using the idea of a Market Maker – a participant that stands ready to buy and sell from other participants on the exchange so that business is done at some price at any time.