Here on Transport Blog we don’t tend to cover too many taxi related stories, but a tweet from Richard Branson has alerted me to Hailo, a mobile app designed to make hailing a cab easier. Originated by three cabbies in London, Hailo is rolling out to a number of cities, including Dublin, Toronto, New York and San Francisco.
The Hailo app (iPhone or Android) features a map that displays all Hailo enabled cabs within your current location. A cab can be ordered with just two taps of the app and the driver’s approach can be seen in real-time. Hailo drivers accept cards or cash and there’s no surcharge for doing so. There’s no charge simply for having the cab show up and, as a bonus to Hailo users, cabs will wait for up to five minutes at no charge. Customers only pay the metered amount. If passengers register a card, they don’t even need to carry cash. Hailo have prepared a 30 second clip of how it works:
Cab drivers have their own app that they use to accept fares:
As well as the features you would expect such as accepting a job, and taking payment, the app has some other pretty cool features, like a chat / event feature that drivers can use to alert other drivers of traffic issues or “bursts” of business.
To me this has great potential to grow well beyond the “hailing” functionality. The app could well become a replacement for the taxi dispatcher console and the taxi meter itself. The whole concept of a taxi company dispatcher could be eliminated, which could, in theory, lead to lower overheads for taxi drivers and lower costs for users.
Elements of this are already starting to be utilitised. In their latest blog posting, Hailo have announced that on Friday and Saturday nights, there will be a minimum fare of £10, to incentivise drivers to pick-up Hailo jobs. They are also trialling a fixed-price guaranteed fare to the airport.
Hailo’s business model is to take 10% commission, but the competition is hotting up, with other apps such as London cab:app, Taxi App and Taxi Square in the market.
So what do you think – is this the killer app the taxi industry in Auckland needs? Hailo are claiming over 10,000 London cabbies are already Hailo enabled. Hailo only offer the service via registered black cab drivers, but could the concept be extended to ridesharing? This is something that ridesharing websites such as Jayride should be looking at very closely.