Say you've just landed at JFK to start your visit to New York, and now you’ve got to find your way into Manhattan. What’s the best, and/or cheapest way to get to the part of town you need to reach? Besides taxis, which will run you (with tip) the better part of three Jacksons, there are actually over 50 different options, from limos, to shuttles to buses.
But how can you find out about all of these services, evaluate them and choose the right one for your needs and budget?
Meet Mozio, which is a “point-to-point multi-modal travel search engine.”
“We want to help people travel like a local,” says founder and CEO David Litwak. “But almost every transit system is local and that is precisely the problem.
“In the past, what we are building was not possible, the data infrastructure was not there. But now there is Uber for limos, Shuttlefare for shuttles, and similar services, so we can integrate all of that aggregated data into our solution.”
He is referring to the aggregation work already done by those other data-driven companies in digitizing the various limo and shuttle services available in each different metropolitan market.
By partnering with these or similar companies, and linking their data in with the publicly available databases of buses and trains and other public transportation systems, Mozio intends to eventually offer an integrated solution to help you truly get around “like a local.”
One relevant development is that Google has just released an API for local transit systems, so there is no reason to reinvent that particular wheel. “It’s perfect timing for us,” says Litwak. “We can just license it.”
“Others have tried to provide point to point info in the past,” notes Litwak, “but we realized why they failed is their idea was invariably to provide one way from, say, from JFK to the city, in each market. So in aggregate they provided multiple mediocre links, rather than a range that would help you discover the cheapest, best or most convenient way for you.
“We have refocused on discovering all the core local transportation options. That was the missing link.”
The company is initially concentrating on the 30 largest U.S. airports and the metro areas surrounding them, with the first three live now. For San Franciscans about to visit Boston, New York, or Washington, D.C., therefore, Mozio is worth checking out.
It is in beta mode now, but no one is restricted from trying the service, which is free. If you sign up, Litwak, assures me, you’ll get access.
And as for that moment when you are next at JFK, you may want to try the New York Airport Service shuttle to Grand Central Station, in Midtown for just $10.