Smart Highways speaks to new ride-hailing app Xooox’s CEO about its launch and how it differs to other ride-hailing apps.
The new company says that unlike Uber, mytaxi or Ola, that this London start-up allows licensed cab drivers and passengers to strike their own deals with no interference from algorithms.
Xooox, pronounced ‘zooks’ aims to put drivers back in control of their own livelihoods, setting fares and selecting jobs that work for them. Passengers will be able to choose the type of cab that they want to use and filter by cost, emissions, ETA, boot space and wheelchair accessibility.
The app is free for all the 400,000 drivers and 16,000 operators currently licensed in the UK to download via the Google Play and Apple Store, aiming to deliver true nationwide coverage.
Smart Highways reporter Emma Greedy asked Xooox CEO Darren Tenney a few questions about his new app.
What motivated you to launch Xooox?
The taxi industry has been disrupted for years. Ever since private hires entered the transport scene in 1976, there’s been conflict between taxis and private hire, and now ride-hailing apps have entered the fray. A long time ago, I had the idea to create a new model of national transport around taxi and private hire, but the technology didn’t exist at the time to make it a reality. Technology progressed to create today’s existing ride hailing apps, but they’re all based on the way taxi service has worked for 40 years. I developed Xooox because I wanted to take a brand new approach, giving passengers and drivers choice and control. Xooox brings tech into the marketplace that harmonises the industry.
What does your ride hailing app offer users that others don’t?
Xooox will be available nationwide from day one, because it enables any driver, across the UK, who has the appropriate licences to use the app. Because xooox is purely a technology platform, not an operator, it doesn’t need to obtain a licence for specific regions in order to function – unlike existing ride hailing apps.
Xooox will also provide passengers with the widest choice possible over which ride to use, which includes minicabs and taxicabs. Passengers will be able to see all the available cars, their ETAs, capacity and exact fares. They can even see which ones are electric vehicles. The passenger is then free to select any ride from the list.
Passenger safety is dramatically improved because, for the first time, every regulator in the UK can have a clear and detailed live map of their area, showing all journeys taking place with up to date licence details of all drivers working in their area.
Safety features within the Xooox Passenger App include a one touch link to call the driver’s operator to immediately report a complaint. For more serious concerns there is a one touch link to send an alert message directly to the relevant regulator. Passengers can also block any drivers that they don’t wish to use for future journeys. When using the Xooox Passenger App the driver can contact the passenger directly but is never given the passenger’s mobile number (it is masked).
How do you plan on ‘standing out from the crowd’ and making sure you don’t go unnoticed?
Technology is the differentiator between Xooox and the competition. Today’s ride hailing apps control the person using the service, but Xooox turns that on its head. The person delivering the service controls the service – Xooox enables drivers to see passengers and set their own pricing, without interference from an algorithm dictating what they can do. Xooox doesn’t allocate work and isn’t an operator. It brings all the different elements of the fragmented private hire and taxi markets together in one platform to improve the way the industry operates, with major benefits for passengers, drivers, operators and regulators. Other ride-hailing apps charge 25% to 30% for every job, but Xooox doesn’t set a fixed commission.
Because Xooox is fair and transparent, we believe drivers will adopt it and spread the word out about it to passengers.
How do you see the app progressing, do you have any further goals?
Using the Xooox system, drivers can look for work while stationary. They no longer need to drive around looking for passengers or return to base empty. This dramatically reduces fuel consumption and pollution and makes smarter use of the existing road infrastructure.
We’re already talking to some city councils about how to integrate Xooox into their smart cities initiatives. In the future, the technology could be used to help inform future transport policies, helping to ease congestion, reduce emissions and identify the best location for electric charging points.
Xooox has been launched nationwide and is available from today.