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Water taxis could get green light this month

Simon Binns on the WAXI man planning a share issue to float more boats

Written by . Published on September 23rd 2010.

Water taxis could get green light this month

Plans to put water taxis on the Manchester Ship Canal could take another step forward this month.

Manchester Water Taxis Ltd, the company behind the WAXIS idea, is waiting to hear if a Peel Group board meeting at the end of this month will sign off the £135,000 needed to bring the first boat onto the water.

Steven Cadwell, managing director at the firm, told Confidential he had recently applied for extra start-up funding and was also planning to hold talks with North West Business Angels and Central Salford URC.

Cadwell has also held discussions with Manchester-based developer Nikal, which is developing the Soapworks scheme next to Salford Quays, over proposal to allow people to buy shares in the business at £7,500 per stake, looking to raise £300,000.

“Nikal is helping out finding investors, and we’ve had some good interest,” he said. “I want to start with one boat and put the profits into buying more. I’ve probably invested around £20,000 so far.

“There’s a similar scheme in Cardiff but I think there’s more scope in Manchester. I’m estimating for about 250,000 customers a year. We’ll be operating from 6am until midnight through the week with a limited service at weekends.

“We’d have to pay Peel Group a toll, which will be about 5.5 per cent of the ticket price – it will cost £3 for a single journey. We’re basically in competition with the Metrolink.

“It will take around 15 to 20 minutes to get from Salford Quays to Spinningfields, and we’ve got 14 stops pencilled in, which we’ll add gradually as the service increases.

“The plan was always to launch April/May 2011 in time for the BBC moving into MediaCityUK, and we're still on track,” he said. “The end of this month should be a bit of a watershed.”

The boats will be specially built to order by a naval architect in Cardiff, Cadwell added.

Confidential first reported on the story in June 2009 and rather liked it, as did many of our readers.

John Mooney, manager of the Mark Addy, is also supportive of the WAXI plans. “It would be great for trade and good news for the area in general,” he said. “As far as I know, the council is behind it and it would be a boost for Spinningfields too.“That stretch of water is crying out for a taxi service. It would be really popular and would become a bit of a tourist attraction too.”

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14 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Wish I had a spare &#194&#1637,500September 22nd 2010.

This is a great idea. It'd ease congestion on the Metrolink in the mornings and would make for a very pleasant journey to and from work. I can imagine lots of MediaCity residents would welcome another way to escape Salford and its Lowry 'Blue Rinse' Mall...

EARL OF DIDSBURYSeptember 22nd 2010.

Great idea , a boat all ready operates between the Mark Addy and Salford quays on utd match days which is popular , this scheme will be a great success i am sure .

GMSSeptember 22nd 2010.

£3 sounds like sensible pricing.

Good luck. I really hope that this takes off.

Uh-huhSeptember 22nd 2010.

agreed. this is a splendid idea. Good pricing too. Unusual way to see the city. It feels progressive and interesting...like you would expect a city as good as manchester to have...

Best of luck - and i can't wait to use.

MaggsSeptember 23rd 2010.

This is a fantastic idea - good luck with the plans and funding applications!!

NortherngeezerSeptember 23rd 2010.

Great idea but 14 stops plus more....... you're journey will take ages!!!!

Anon tooSeptember 23rd 2010.

I think he means he'll add stops gradualy until he hits 14.

Lucy HineSeptember 23rd 2010.

I think it's a great idea - I live in one of the apartments on the irwell, if one of the stops is nearby it would be great not having to walk back into town to get the tram to the quays.

Manchester Water TaxisSeptember 23rd 2010.

Thank you for all your support I'll keep Confidential up to date as to developments.

AlSeptember 23rd 2010.

Brilliant! Remembering hearing this back in 2009...probably one of the best ideas to hit the city.

pat karneySeptember 23rd 2010.

Sounds great really like it.Saw similar in Malta over the summer .Good luck.

markSeptember 23rd 2010.

This story has been around for at least twenty years. They even built 'bus' shelters for them back in the late 80's on the Salford side some of them are still there.Good luck getting Peel to agree to it!

Leigh ScottSeptember 24th 2010.

I'd like to see a farmer's market stalls at various stops on given days that could supply the locals and the city restaurants, I like the romance of it.

suepabsSeptember 27th 2010.

Sounds a brilliant idea. Just wish us out in the sticks had someone with some oomph to back some innovative ideas instead of lumbering us with the white elephant which will be the guided busway from Leigh.

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