HAILO taxi service launches in Toronto with iPhone and Android apps

Daniel Bader

September 26, 2012 1:02pm

In what could be a new show called Taxi Wars, HAILO (hereby known as Hailo) officially launches in its third city today, Toronto. Already up and running in London (England) and Dublin, Hailo is taking a different route, so to speak, than Uber, by certifying itself as a licensed cab company.

Hailo allows you to use your smartphone, either on Android or iOS, to hail a nearby cab, wherever you happen to be in the city. Taxi drivers can choose to use the service as a second or third means of filling their back seats; they do this by having the Hailo app open on their smartphones, ready to accept riders from around the city. The payment model provides riders — and drivers — protection from declined credit cards and payment issues, as the company takes a 15% commission from drivers’ total fares in order to cover insurance and credit card processing.

This is all transparent to the riders, who are essentially taking a metred cab fare. Except that, using the app, they can track where the taxi is, how long it will take to get to their destination. Riders will receive a push notification when the cab has arrived, and payment is taken care of beforehand using a pre-entered credit card. Gratuity can be chosen prior to the ride — Hailo encourages 15%, 20% or 25%, but can abide any number — making small change a thing of the past.

There is already competition in Toronto: Uber launched earlier this year and while they don’t use the same payment system — a 20% surcharge is added to each fare, which includes a gratuity — they are not a registered cab company. Instead, Uber partners with licensed cab and limousine companies, acting as a liaison between rider and driver, taking a small fee for processing and coordination. Hailo, on the other hand, faces no legal ambiguity, and works directly with cab drivers.

Right now there are around 450 Hailo-licensed drivers in the city, and that number is expected to reach over 2000 in the coming months. Regardless of that number, I have yet to experience a wait of more than 5 minutes for a cab, which is a great feat in a city where cabs often prefer to ignore than accept a fare.

Hail0 is running a promotion where you can get $5 off your first fare by using the promo code TORONTO from within the app.

Download HAILO for iPhone and Android.
Via: TechCrunch

  • Crocography

    Need windows phone app., as I will not be buying the iPhone 5 but instead switching to the Nokia 920.

    • Justin Kozuch

      Hi Croc,

      A Windows Mobile app is in the roadmap, but we currently don’t have an estimated release date as of yet.

      Justin Kozuch
      Social Media Marketing & Community Management
      Hailo Toronto

    • Crocography

      @Justin Kozuch: thank you for the heads up, hopefully your new WinPhone app will coincide with my new Lumia 920 purchase… sometime next month I hope. (p.s. I would try it on my iPhone but I have already made plans to sell it to someone)

  • Jamie

    Okay, cool idea but what happens when your charged ahead and someone else steals your cab or the driver assumes it’s the person that ordered it through hailo?

    Maybe I missed something or they already thought of that and have protection for just that.

  • Dave


    You’re not charged ahead. You’re charged at the end of the ride, as usual, but payment is automatic. When a driver accepts your hail, you see each other’s names, and you’re encouraged to confirm them with each other to avoid any possibility of cab-stealing.

  • Tom

    Sounds great. Uber makes you a premium over Toronto’s already high rates, which seemed odd for a service that should make things more efficient for everyone.

    I wonder, how does the 15% cut taken by HAILO compare to the cut taken by regular taxi companies.

    Hopefully the competition between Uber and HAILO, and the efficiencies of this method, means lower costs for customers and better rates for drivers.

  • Tom

    I’d also like to note that Uber requires permission to take pictures and read your contacts. HAILO does not.

    I’m installing HAILO now.

  • Justin Kozuch

    Hi Jamie,

    Great question.

    You’re charged at the end of the ride. In terms of having your cab ride stolen, this very rarely happens. We train our drivers to confirm they are picking up the right passenger by looking at their photo and greeting them by name.

    Justin Kozuch
    Social Media Marketing & Community Management
    Hailo Toronto

  • Michael

    I’ve been very impressed with Uber so will be interested to compare the services. You should too, sign up with the link below and get a $10 credit (for you and me).


    Uber’s also free until Friday afternoon so you get a truly free test!

  • drone

    20% tip?? wtf… lol

  • adam man handler

    Is the cab business blooming so much that we need all these new companies doing these lame apps?

  • Jon

    20%, 25% tip, what the hell is that for? Now this coming from a guy who’s happy to tip for fantastic service but a taxi, come on, drive me from point a to point b in a friendly and efficient way and I’ll tip a couple extra bucks

  • Baban

    I’ve tried the service taxi arrived in time, first time for me using app like this. Btw driver was using Wind.. he said they have some partnership or special deal with them.

  • slimey simey

    Uber is WAY better than Hailo – FREE rides until tomorrow on Toronto Taxi’s, PLUS a free $10 credit towards future rides at uber.com/invite/uberfreerideTO