Hailo is looking to expand in Chicago and then New York by year’s end and is following in the skidmarks of Uber, which officially pulled its UberTAXI service out of New York Tuesday. Although the two companies tout a similar service, slight differences in Hailo’s business model and timing will likely make for an easier entry into New York.
Hailo currently has 4,200 taxi drivers pre-registered to download the app, which includes real-time traffic data, a social platform, and updates on how many waiting passengers there are at airports and hotels. This provides a valuable service to the drivers before riders are even in the picture, says Bregman, who “wants to be for taxi drivers, what Photoshop is for designers. Something that is indispensable to their job.”
Based on past cities, Hailo predicts that about half of these drivers will go onto become active users putting Hailo’s active fleet miles ahead of Uber’s at their respective times of launch. The Uber pilot launched with only 160 cabbies out a 13,000 yellow cab fleet.
How the apps clash with current TLC regulations
Upon asking for a clearer distinction between hailing a taxi through the app and pre-ordering one (illegal in NYC), Allen Fromberg of the Taxi and Limousine Commission was unable to elaborate stating that it was “only scant weeks at the most from releasing draft regulations that will very clearly spell out our regulatory vision for apps,” and that he was hesitant to say anything that “could be translated into ‘this app: good, this app: bad.'”
It appears that Uber crossed the line by asking riders to input their final destination. Hailo says it won’t violate regulations by putting riders directly in communication with riders. Riders will request a cab and a message will be sent out to nearby drivers who can accept the ride.
TLC’s new rules will also address the payment issue that makes both Uber and Hailo currently illegal in New York. All payments are processed through the app, which breaks two existing contracts that the organization holds for payment processing. The contracts aren’t up until February, but it’s looking like the TLC’s big changes may allow for the app payments before that time.
It’s worth it to note that Hailo is also agile in dealing with different city regulations and rules. This is the fourth country that it’s launched in and plans on adjusting business models within different U.S. cities as well.