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OUITAXI (or WETAXI) a taxi on demand and taxi sharing service

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - OUITAXI (OUITAXI (or WETAXI) a taxi on demand and taxi sharing service)

Reporting period: 2017-02-01 to 2017-07-31

Four out of five European citizens live in urban areas, and their quality of life is directly influenced by the state of the urban environment. Cities suffer most from chronic traffic congestion (which is estimated to cost 80 billion Euros annually), poor air quality and noise. Urban transport is responsible for about a quarter of CO2 emissions from transport and 69% of road accidents. In this framework, collaborative economy and ICT represent a great opportunity to reduce the negative externalities of urban traffic. Indeed we are witnessing a paradigm shift from car ownership to mobility as a service. This shift is taking advantage of new, innovative ways of peer-to-peer sharing that are voluntary and enabled by internet-based exchange markets and mediation platforms. Nowadays people are looking for the cheapest and fastest solution to moving from A to B. Wetaxi, a real-time taxi sharing service, could be the perfect match to their needs.
It can overcome all the problems, such as uncertainty of fare, high costs, interaction between taxi’s technological platforms and the sharing ones, reservation costs, regulatory issues, strong competition with new mobility providers, etc..
Wetaxi is the taxi you’ve always desired: innovative, simple, transparent and convenient.
Wetaxi is a platform fully developed by our team, integrated with the taxi technology (innovative). The user can share a taxi and save money thanks to four simple steps: get the position, request the taxi, know the price and share the ride (simple). Furthermore it generates a quote that represents the maximum fare the user will pay. That quote is shown to the user before the beginning of the trip and it may be reduced if the taxi ride is shared (transparent). Finally, Wetaxi makes it possible to use a taxi at a reasonable fare. If the user is willing to share there is a fixed 30% discount and the fares are always much lower than those of a single passenger taxi ride (convenient).
During the feasibility study phase we have been working on one hand defining a sharp marketing strategy and business model for our platform and, on the other hand running a first complete beta pilot of the first version of Wetaxi in the city of Turin with very encouraging results. A first preliminary version of Wetaxi has been available on the market since May 2 2017 and has now run a beta test of 45 days in Turin. On June 15 2017, this first version of Wetaxi was launched during a press conference attended by the taxi company’s CEOs and the Councillors for transportation and commerce of Turin City Council. Turin was chosen as first city for implementation since the Wetaxi team is based in Turin, it has signed a contract with the two taxi companies operating in Turin. The plan is to make taxi-sharing available only at the main destinations and the airport at first. Then, once a community of user is created, to start offering the service all over the city. What happened is that, in one month, Wetaxi met the goals that were set for the end of the year. The number of users reached 5.000 and the average number of rides per day reached 80. The results are very positive!
All over the world, despite the many taxis in circulation, many people still find it difficult to get a taxi, in particular during peak hours, and the cost is still too high most of the time. One reason for the persistence of this problem could be inefficient utilization of taxi capacities and a possible solution could be taxi-sharing, that is an innovative and improved way of using taxis. Taxi-sharing is introduced in an attempt to decrease congestion during peak hours or during particular events and to promote certain bars and leisure activities downtown. The main advantages are: efficiency and safety, complementarity with public transport, reduced waiting time and costs for users, increased income per ride for taxi drivers, reduction of congestion downtown and reduction of polluting emissions. Nevertheless, there are still many barriers to the spread of taxi-sharing services: uncertainty of fare, high costs (due to the fact that sharing is not guaranteed), interaction between taxi drivers’ technological platforms and sharing platforms, reservation costs. At the moment, most available apps are not able to share rides in real-time, but require reservations 24-48 hours before travelling. Moreover in many of the case studies the service is available only on fixed routes. Wetaxi fosters the use of taxis by making it possible to share the ride, thereby making fares more competitive (reduced cost per passenger) and the service more transparent (quote showed before the beginning of the trip).
In Turin (a city in the north-west of Italy) alone, there are more than 6 million daily transfers, 10.000 of which are made by taxi, corresponding to a market of 140 million euros per year. In the rest of Italy, the available market is 4 billion euros and in Europe it goes up to 40 billion euros, more or less 50% of the market worldwide. It is evident that the taxi market available globally is huge and could, potentially, grow: global taxi usage can be estimated at roughly 100 billion euros per year.