Ireland a glowing success for Hailo
Ahead of his visit to Dublin’s Web Summit next week Hailo co-founder Jay Bregman says the success of taxi hailing app here has helped firm refine its service worldwide
The brand has become a well known one around Ireland, a success that the company is hoping to replicate around the world. As the success of the brand grows, it has become easier to recruit drivers and generate customers.
“People are coming to us, and taxi drivers are coming to us,” says Bregman.
It hasn’t all been a walk in the park for the Hailo team, however. New York was one of the toughest markets to crack for the company; not because of resistance from passengers, but because with tough regulation on hailing cabs, the introduction of ehailing through apps such as Hailo was always going to be a battle.
“I’ve got the grey hairs to prove it,” says Bregman. “I knew New York was going to be a tough fight. I moved back there about a year-and-a-half ago to start what many people thought would be impossible due to the political and regulatory situation. We thought it would take five to 10 years for this type of technology to make its way to New York.”
But the New York native was determined to bring the technology to his home city, however, and in June, a judge ruled that the beta of the Hailo system could go ahead.
The problem now, he says, is signing up the cab drivers fast enough. “That’s our biggest problem – trying to outfit and train the cabbies as quickly as we can,” he said.
The system, particularly in New York, is highly automated. Drivers can be authenticated by scanning a secure barcode on the back of their taxi licence, and the app can be downloaded and set up directly from the smartphone. There’s an online tutorial that takes them through the different steps, and cab drivers are ready to go.
“What we see happening and what we hope for is that as the market for these taxi applications becomes more established there will be a harmonised policy standard across the countries, regions and the world, which will make it much easier to regulate apps that are licensed,” he says. Although that might be some way off, it seems that for Hailo passengers at least, the future is looking bright. “The future of Hailo is Hailo anywhere,” says Bregman.