A new taxi app with a difference, Maaxi, is on the scene, and aiming to grab support from black cab drivers with a promise of staying loyal to them, unlike services such as Hailo.
Maaxi has the support of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association and is a black cab-only app, in contrast to the likes of Hailo which was a black taxi-only affair previously, but then opened up its service to private hire cars as well back in May – in order to better compete with the ever-more-popular Uber. This displeased black cab drivers greatly, and they pointed out that it isn't fair that private hires aren't subject to the same regulation as licensed cab drivers are.
Maaxi is different in that it matches up to five strangers who are going in the same direction, so they can share a ride and split the bill, and save money that way (though sharing is optional, if you don't want to make small talk with complete strangers).
The cab driver makes more money, as he or she charges each passenger a separate amount, and the passengers save as they're paying less than they would do for a solo cab ride to their destination. Of course, Maaxi gets a cut too.
The app calculates the fees necessary, so the driver or passengers don't have to worry about tricky mental arithmetic.
It sounds like a clever idea, certainly, even if Uber has already rolled out its own cab sharing service – though that isn't live in London yet, just San Francisco for the moment.
Maaxi was founded at the close of 2012, mind you, and primarily backed (and led) by Nat Rothschild and Gabriel Campos.
As for taxi drivers who are suspicious that Maaxi might do a Hailo and eventually open up the service to private hire cars – particularly if it struggles to turn a profit – the BBC reports that the head of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, Steve McNamara, had been assured that this won't happen.
McNamara said that this was "the major concern that the taxi trade had, following what can only be described as the sell-out by Hailo, who went to the dark side. Nat Rothschild has personally assured the taxi trade that this is a black cab app and we're very excited by it. We actually think it could be a real game changer."
Check out the video above for more details on the app.