FORGET Uber: there’s a new taxi service in town, and it promises no traffic (well, apart from the odd barge or two). That’s because ‘waxi’ - one of those neoteric start-ups that’s clearly too cool for capital letters - will be using waterways rather than motorways, rivers rather than roads, to whizz passengers around Manchester; promising to blow competitors out the water (despite its poor grammar) with a regional first.
The fleet includes two boats, for seven and ten people respectively
It’s been a long time coming: we first broke news of waxis in 2009 and, by the time of our last article in 2014, a lack of funding saw the launch delayed further. With each boat estimated at £35000, it began to look unlikely the project would, er, stay afloat. But, seven years on, waxi founder Steven Cadwell - who joined Entrepreneurial Spark, NatWest’s ‘business accelerator’ programme, in August - has finally announced the service will hit waterways from today.
The original route, from the city centre to MediaCityUK via Manchester Ship Canal, was thwarted with the construction of the Ordsall Chord; due for completion in 2017. From tomorrow, waxi will instead be operating morning and evening Mondays to Friday between Sale and Castlefield (including rush hour), and a circular route running from Castlefield to Old Trafford and the intu Trafford Centre. The fleet includes two boats, for seven and ten people respectively.
Cadwell said: “It’s taken a long time and a lot of hard work to get this point but we are really excited about waxi’s services finally launching. It’s something that will appeal to a lot of people who want a different way to travel to work or to football matches. We know our roadways are getting more and more congested, and more people are seeking alternative forms of transport. At the moment we have two boats but we are looking to add to the fleet next year as the business develops. ”
If it’s as leisurely and stress-free as promised, we’ve no doubt Manchester will hop aboard.