It’s heartbreak hotel over here in Emma-land. Earlier today, Hailo announced that they would be shutting down North American operations. At the time, Toronto office lead Justin Raymond said he would be asking for a licensing deal with the parent company.
Well, Hailo just announced they would not be giving Hailo Toronto a license to continue operations in Toronto.
A representative for Hailo says the company is shutting down all markets completely, and won’t be striking a licensing deal in Toronto.
This is a tragedy. I’ve been a vocal fan of the Hailo app since it arrived on the scene in Toronto in 2012. I remember writing a blog post announcing their launch and how excited I was to try it out.
It’s been one of my go-to apps over the years, and I’ve been so proud to support a company I’ve believed in. In comparison, I’ve been a big critic of Uber, primarily for what I believe to be their shady business practices and I will refuse to support them here in Toronto, even though they are the only viable option left.
To me, this opens up a huge whitespace in the market that a new app could easily fill. I hope they come soon, because “winter is coming” and I get cold walking home. To Hailo Toronto employees: I’m so sorry. You’ve always been nothing short of awesome. I hope you can find solace in the fact that you had many, many fans.
The cab industry is quickly going to become the next disrupted model. No longer will we need dispatchers to receive our calls or tell cabbies where to go pick up passengers. Now, thanks to technology, the process will be much more streamlined and will become a direct relationship between driver and passenger.
Enter Hailo, coming across the seas from the UK and Ireland. Similar to Uber and Winston, users can fire up this app on their phone and hail a cab directly from within the app. No need to call and order one. Other benefits include: the app provides an estimated time of arrival of driver, being able to pay directly from your phone (as it’s synced up to your credit card), and being able to rate cab drivers (my personal favourite option). But be careful not to be too rude – as I understand it, cabbies can rate you as a passenger too!
While Beck recently launched its own Taxi app, it still isn’t quite near the level of Hailo. It won’t tell you how far the cabbie is from picking you up (it will only say the cabbie is on its way), you still have to pay cash or credit card directly to the driver, and there’s no way to provide feedback if you’ve had a bad or great experience.
A few weeks ago, I won a $40 credit for Hailo and got to know the application quite well. At the time, the system wasn’t quite ready so I still had to call the driver to come get me but as we zipped around the city, the driver, Timi, told me all about Hailo. He was obviously very passionate about this app and believed it was a good thing for the industry.
So, why not check it out? You can download it from the App store or the Google Play store now. You can also read TechCrunch’s coverage on the app that does a great job of comparing Hailo to Uber.
(Images shamelessly stolen from the Hailo Toronto Facebook Page.)