Taxi 2000 Exits2-10-2018
Taxi 2000's demo in 2005. Ed Anderson is at left.
©MMXVIII The PRT NewsCenter
Long time pod transit company Taxi 2000 closed in mid-2017, exiting the business without achieving a demonstration facility or system in fare service. A shareholder letter obtained in January by the NewsCenter revealed Read More
"While we still believe that it is a superior technology, in the history of inventions that has often proven to be insufficient to bring an idea to the marketplace," wrote Taxi 2000 chairman Morrie Anderson.
Taxi 2000 was perhaps the seminal Personal Rapid Transit company. Founded in the 1980s by leading PRT thinker J. Edward Anderson, Taxi 2000 went through several iterations. Spun off from work begun at the University of Minnesota, Ed Anderson (no relation to Morrie Anderson) developed what is now a familiar supported-vehicle concept with dual redundancy components, and a patented mechanical switch.
Convinced that a Taxi 2000 system would pay for itself, Anderson spent years trying to cultivate the interest of municipalities as well as private companies, such as resorts, interested in campus transit.
In the 1990s Taxi 2000's technology was temporarily controlled by Raytheon, resulting in the PRT2000 demonstration in Massachusetts. It was a Clinton era "peace dividend" product which was well financed until it wasn't.
In 2003 the company reached its apex, unveiling a functioning prototype, dubbed Skyweb Express, on 60 feet of guideway. The demo spent a summer at the Minnesota State Fair, giving free rides to the public and generating a lot of publicity.
During this time Taxi 2000 became a lightning rod for a few pro-transit activists who saw PRT as a threat to conventional systems like light rail and modern streetcars. The internet enabled some of these opponents to shadow Taxi 2000's efforts internationally, dogging their efforts with negative publicity.
Anderson left Taxi 2000 in 2005 and was briefly embroiled in an opaque controversy with his old company, manifesting in an IP lawsuit brought against him by Taxi 2000, which was eventually settled.
Under the leadership of new CEO Mike Lester, Taxi 2000 then broadened its scope beyond the US, submitting unsuccessful bids for installations in Dubai, Masdar, and Heathrow Airport. The only product that emerged may have been Alpha, a scale model network with multiple vehicles that was supposed to demonstrate the vehicle and network control system.
In recent years Taxi 2000 attempted to create opportunities for its technology in Greenville, South Carolina and Jacksonville, Florida.
Jacksonville, Florida: "On demand pods an option to replace dated Skyway" 11-21-2015
Taxi 2000 says its PRT system can fit inside "failed" peoplemover's infrastructure envelope.
Boston Globe: "A groundswell for high-riding pods" 9-26-2015
NPR: Why Nonstop Travel In Personal Pods Has Yet To Take Off (Morning Edition) 9-24-2015
Correspondent Joe Palca visits Taxi 2000 offices, interviews Mike Lester and Ken Halverson, and rides the redcar prototype.
There's been some buzz about this line from the story (quoting former MnDOT Commissioner Thomas K. Sorel, misspelled Sorrel by NPR): "the state considered PRT, but there was stiff opposition from backers of buses and light rail, and nothing was ever built." There's nothing too complicated about this. Most likely it means that buses and light rail had revenue streams, and the agencies and citizen groups that helped get those streams acted to protect them. It's not unfair, it's not a conspiracy. It's politics. -Editor
Greenville SC: County agency terminates automated transit bid. Procurement process (which garnered two applicants) is over, although officials say they hope to restart at a later time. 7-6-2015
Greenville County EDC receives 2 submissions by deadline. 6-3-2015 Link
Taxi 2000 and SkyCabs are the only applicants; the former is working with Parsons. SkyCabs, which bills itself as Elevated Small Group Automated Rapid Transport, is from New Zealand.
Taxi 2000 making its pitch in South Carolina
Greenville: Official likens pods to "horizontal elevator" (Fred Payne). 3-1-2015
$50M, 4.2 mile line envisioned; 2getthere, Taxi2000, Skycab, and Micro Transit Systems said to be planning to file proposals.
Greenville County RFP
Some rankled by 'futuristic' look (video) 3-4-2015
County councilman hopes for paved lane for 'semiautonomous' robocars, elevated PRT system. Highlights:
Taxi 2000 surfaces; company's Mike Lester claims a "financial package" for doing a project.
Councilman Fred Payne hopes to acquire a 3.4 mile right of way for multimodal/ped transportation.
Ultra-ultra-conservative Bob Jones University hosted automated taxi demo (Dec. 11, 2014) providing demand-responsive service.
Statement by the group Minnesota 2020, possibly to manage public interest in the Citizens For PRT booth at May 7-8 St. Paul green expo.
"It's the best of both worlds, is what proponents -- like Citizens for Personal Rapid Transit who had a booth at the Living Green Expo -- would have you believe." -Riordan Frost
What followed was yet another mischaracterization of PRT as low capacity based on comparing pod size to light rail, and not recognizing PRT's capacity is network-based.
Is it not odd, reader, that one group participates as an exhibitor at a sustainability fair, while another group (not an exhibitor) decides its participation will be to question the former's believabilty. That list of exhibitors includes a Ford truck dealer and Chevrolet. Minnesota 2020 couldn't think of anything to say about auto companies being at a green expo? Or Xcel Energy, which operates two Minnesota nuclear power plants; what were they doing at Living Green with Fukushima-Daichi still smoldering? - Ed.
:: Winona mayor & city manager interviewed; restate project rationale; apparently recorded before non-recommendation.
"Leaders line up to support PRT" in Winona. T2's match is $5 million already spent on preliminary work. 2-10-2010
Taxi 2000 offers to provide 20% match for federal grant application for Winona "PRT lab." 1-24-2010
Taxi 2000 consulted on Winona (MN) PRT proposal; state DOT names PRT director. 12-11-2009
Mike Lester to present at April 2009 Heathrow conference 2-25-09
Skyweb depicted in Forbes Taxi 2000's Echo control technology (Flash)
Video: Mike Lester at Podcar City Conference #1
Revamped site goes live Sept. 2007
Latest Taxi 2000 product information Sept. 2007
Feasibility study for unnamed city; adds concept 5-passenger vehicle (pdf)
Made to Measure Transit (IEEE). Vukan Vuchic of UPenn states same objections as 11 years ago 6-1-2007
Member of Taxi 2000 team completes PRT study
May 27, 2007|
A company on Taxi 2000 Corporation's supply team has completed a feasibility study for an unnamed client in the United Arab Emirates. Business North reported May 5 that engineering/architecture firm Krech Ojard & Associates
recently conducted a feasibility study for developing a Personal Rapid Transit system in United Arab Emirates, an oil-rich Middle Eastern nation of seven political territories. Personal Rapid Transit is a system of lightweight, three-person vehicles under independent or semi-independent automatic control, running on a network of fixed guideways. If approved, this would be the first system of its kind.
The article mentions neither Taxi 2000 nor the Skyweb Express system by name, however the description of PRT using "three-person vehicles" is almost certainly in reference to Skyweb.
Richard Ojard is a director of Taxi 2000.
Video: Taxi 2000 demos control system at scale 4-10-2007 (open URL in Windows Media Player)
| Rumor: Taxi 2000 project imminent?|
A notorious critic of PRT has posted on the internet a message purportedly from Morrie Anderson, CEO of Taxi 2000 (Skyweb Express PRT) of Fridley, MN. It reads in part:
"...PRT has to prove itself by moving beyond concept to reality. That is the path that Taxi 2000 is currently on. We are about to move forward with a project and will let the results of this effort speak for us." Source
This critic has a long history of inaccurate claims, so take this one with a boulder-sized grain of salt.
Skyweb on news in Rochester MN 7-14-2005
Creative ideas for alternative transportation look promising (Delaware) 6-21-2005
Ed Anderson resigns from Taxi 2000, forms new company
PRT x 3 3-2-2005
Skyweb designer leaves company; Duluth developments. 3-3-2005
Taking the mass out of transit 12-15-2004
Car Ports Salon.com 11-19-2004
Santa Cruz opinion: PRT "something Santa Cruz could get behind"
PRT in the New York Post 10-12-2004