Hailo extends reach of smartphone app to another 20 towns

Electronic taxi ordering company plans to keep going until entire country covered

Ireland has become the first country in the world to bask fully in the glow of Hailo after the electronic taxi ordering company extended the reach of its smartphone app to a further 20 Irish towns today.

Hailo Ireland has claimed its latest expansion means it is now nationwide and said it plans to keep growing until it has the entire country covered.

"From the very beginning we have been getting requests from drivers and passengers all over the country so we are delighted to be going nationwide. Ireland really is the first Hailo country," its general manager Tim Arnold said.

He accepted that running the service in rural areas with more dispersed populations and fewer taxi drivers would be “a new and different challenge” when compared with operation in high-density urban centres but he said that it was tweaking its systems to make sure it was viable in smaller towns. “We are taking the friction and the hassle out of taking a taxi and making it easier for people and for drivers.,” he said.


Hailo uses GPS-enabled smartphones to match drivers and passengers based on both availability and proximity and has the stated aim of finding cabs in just two taps. Unlike more traditional taxi company dispatchers, it never misleads would be passengers as to the whereabouts of their cab. After a driver has electronically accepted a fare, passengers get updated arrival information based on real-time information and can track the whereabouts of the taxi.

Users can pay with a credit card or by cash, there is no call-out charge, and the cab does not start its meter until five minutes after it has arrived at the call out location. It also mails receipts as soon as a passenger gets out of a cab and records and stores information about how frequently cabs are taken and their pick-up points and destinations.

Unlike traditional radio-based operations, taxi drivers do not have to pay any upfront fees to the company which instead takes a 12 per cent commission on each fare. We don’t make money unless the drivers make money,” Mr Arnold said.

The company was set up by three London taxi drivers and three technology entrepreneurs in 2010 and was an almost instant success, raising more than €100m in venture capital in the months after it was founded .

It is now operating in 16 cities worldwide but Ireland is the first country where the service is almost universally available The app has been downloaded more than 430,000 times in Ireland to date and 6,000 of Dublin’s 10,000 taxi drivers are now using it with that number climbing to 7,300 nationally. Hailo Ireland is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the parent company and employs 11 people here.

The company is also trialling a Hailo for Business app with a few to taking a portion of the lucrative corporate sector. Mr Arnold said the trial involved six businesses and he anticipated it would be rolled out across the Hailo network later this year.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast