The taxi cab app war continues to heat up in Canada’s biggest metropolis. Toronto is the first city for Hailo, the “black cab app” to be launched in North America. It has been downloaded over 400,000 times in London and Dublin and plans to expand to Boston, New York, and Chicago very soon.
The Financial Post’s Christine Dobby pointed out earlier this month that the director of licensing for the City of Toronto is investigating services like Uber that are operating without a license and that the city will pursue “enforcement action” if appropriate.
Hailo says they are only using licensed taxi operators and have 400-500 drivers onboard with the app already. They should have 1600 within a short matter of time. Uber contends that the city of Toronto wants to be technologically friendly and that their drivers are licensed and insured.
Tap N’ Ride, another Toronto taxi app competitor, is pursuing a brokerage license unlike Uber which has a current “open dialogue” with the city, according to Dobby.
Hailo takes a 15% commission per fare but believes that cab drivers can be increasingly efficient with their app and increase their business by more than the commissioned amount by 20 to 30%. That’s because the Hailo driver app allows cabs to communicate with one another via the crowdsourcing app to report traffic jams, police checkpoints, where crowds are gathering, and more. Further, Hailo keeps 85% of revenue in the driver’s pocket versus the traditional 40%.
Users of the app, which can be downloaded here, can simply press two buttons and get cab service almost instantly instead of having to call. This is especially important late at night and after last call during the winter when it is extremely cold. It can be difficult to find a cab that is willing to pick you up and freezing out on the street is not a good option. The app will further allow users to see who is picking them up, and they can even gender profile. Consumers simply enter credit card information beforehand with the app and can just walk out without having to process payment.
Ordering a taxi in two taps.
Competitor Winston, founded by The Next 36 participant Aidan Nulman and company, is employing a different strategy in selling their taxi app technology to other fleets that may require it. Dobby reports that they should be announcing a deal soon.
Hailo’s entry into the taxi app marketplace also follows Beck Taxi’s mobile app launch.
On CBC’s Lang and O’Leary exchange which featured Hailo’s President Justin Raymond and CEO Jay Bregman, New York city officials fear that Hailo will cause a two-tiered system taxi system in New York City when it launches. That’s the traditional way of hailing a cab versus the new technology savvy way of “halioing” a cab.