Every now and then something comes and just delivers. These moments feel awesome, don’t they? I had one such experience today, so let me share it. Hailo (Crunchbase profile here) solves one of the world’s (well, for the time being, London’s) little problems, namely to hail a cab. You either stand around waving futiley around only to have people being picked up left, right and center (but never you) or you fiddle with phone numbers and hope they’re not busy, etc, etc.
Hailo is the self-proclaimed Taxi Heaven. And you know what? They certainly delivered. Here’s how it works: (1) get their app (for the time being available on iOS and Android). (2) fire up the app, it locates you and tells you how long you’d have to wait (6 minutes in my case). (3) press a button to “hail” the cab and you’re done.
The app keeps you up to date with progress (tour confirmed, updating ETA, etc). You can call the cabbie (who is provided to you by name) if you want, too. You can choose to pay with cash or by card (you can store your credit card in your profile and even add tips automatically). You take your ride. You pay. And if all that wasn’t enough, they even send you a receipt by e-mail.
It works like a poem. B-e-a-utiful! I am a sucker for betas but as you know (if you are equally inclined) that often causes frustration, too, because, well, it’s bloody beta. If what Hailo delivered is beta (and they’re early!), then their “gold” release will have you sinking to your knees.
Hailo is approved by TfL (Transport for London, the city’s transport regulator) and works (only) with “black cabs” (they are the nice, iconic official ones). For the drivers, they seem to be trying to make it easy AND add functionality: no hardware, no subscriptions, no exclusivity. Additionally, they use the drivers’ app (different to what me mere mortal uses) to spread word on traffic, status of any taxi ranks (100 cabs waiting for customers? Go somewhere else…).
Hailo, you guys rock!