Roy August 15th, 2014
While Uber has certainly drawn the majority of headlines in the news over the past few weeks and months, it appears that another smartphone application is on the rise, and could well be making its way to an area near you. It’s not quite as controversial as the former, and should be more complimentary to most drivers’ needs, rather than potentially taking some of their business.
New way of hailing a cab
Hailo, clearly derived from ‘hailing’ a cab, is a relatively straightforward concept. You use your phone to order a licenced local taxi to come and pick you up. You don’t need to call anyone, there’s no additional fee, and drivers can find their fares just by going to the phone’s GPS location. There certainly seems to be no reason for local drivers not to register for the service, especially if the uptake in use continues, and many consumers are likely to enjoy the fact that they don’t need to know the address that they’re at, and don’t need to ring anyone.
It’s worth noting here that Hailo simply approves the drivers it works with, it does not employ them. It’s just giving customers a different way of ordering their car, rather than actually running the service end to end. There are many who believe that this is likely to be the future of ordering a taxi – it does after all make things easier for pretty much everyone involved.
Hailo is available currently in 13 major cities in Europe, North America and Japan, but in Ireland, it is running almost seamlessly over the whole country. Travellers can use the app in Ashbourne, Bray, Greystones, Balbriggan, Celbridge, Navan, Trim, Athlone, Leixlip, Mullingar, Maynooth, Drogheda, Dundalk, Sligo, and Ennis. At the moment there are no bases in Northern Ireland.
Arklow, Letterkenny, Longford, Roscommon, Carrick-on-Shannon, Clonmel, Thurles, Ballina, Castlebar, and Westport are all planned destinations that should be available pretty soon, meaning nearly everyone in the country with a smartphone will be able to hail a cab without going outside or making a call.
The app has now been around for two years, and in that time has managed to rack up more than four million journeys, thanks to a user base of about 400,000 people. That means that almost one in ten people in Ireland have downloaded it, and thousands are using it each and every day.
With the advent of these kinds of programs, it’s likely that we’ll see an uptake in people looking to set themselves up as independent licenced drivers. The process is being made so much easier – there’s little need to wait for people to ring into a centralised base and get distributed outwards. Hailo approved drivers won’t have to wait around at ranks or search for fares; they can just wait for the app to show them to someone who needs a lift.
It will be very interesting to see if the app expands from the cities it’s currently operating in and becomes the norm for ordering cabs. For now however, it’s firmly rooted in Ireland, and any independents that aren’t already registered may well want to take a look.