Over the past week or so there has been much discussion amongst drivers about Hailo’s application for a Private Hire licence. There has been some misinformation and even scaremongering. We’d like to take the opportunity to dispel the myths and set the record straight. We have spoken to literally hundreds of drivers personally and will continue the dialogue to get feedback and prevent people from getting the wrong end of the stick. Meanwhile, here are some answers to common questions:
Why we’re doing this
Today, passengers have a number of apps on their phone to get them a vehicle. If they choose a taxi but can’t get one on Hailo, it is a fact that they will open other apps that don’t offer taxis to get a car. That passenger may then be lost to the trade forever. By giving people a secondary option for a private hire car we are keeping that passenger on an app where taxis are the first choice.
When are we doing this
All that has happened so far is that Hailo has applied for a Private Hire Operators licence. It has not yet (as at May 28th) been issued by Transport for London. No launch date has been fixed.
Is Hailo going to be private hire only?
Of course not. We stress that taxis will continue to be front and centre of Hailo’s offering and the default option for the passenger.
What type of vehicles are you planning?
These are early days and our next task is to provide executive cars that corporate accounts have said they need in order to use taxis in their businesses, thus getting more of the corporate work that cab drivers have always told us they want.
Going forward, whilst taxis will be the first thing people see when they open up the app, we may offer a broader choice of vehicles as passengers and businesses require so that they keep using Hailo and thus have a smartphone app that has taxis as the first choice. More people using the app means more work for taxis.
How big will the fleet be and who will be driving these cars?
We are still finalising the details and will share them closer to launch, but taking some of your ideas on board already, if possible we would like to involve licensed taxi drivers – be they Knowledge students, existing drivers or ex-drivers.
Will this mean taxis get more corporate work?
Yes. Hailo is actively trying to win corporate business back to black cabs and we launched the Hailo for Business service recently to develop this faster. Corporate accounts want executive-class cars as part of their requirements – and winning business is much harder if we don’t provide this service – as radio circuits have shown.
Will Hailo send people who ask for a taxi a private hire instead?
No, if passengers request a taxi they will get a taxi. If there are no taxis available, then passengers can choose to look for another option.
Will Hailo be giving all the best/longer jobs to private hire?
No. Unlike the radio circuits, it will always be the passenger’s choice. If people ask for a taxi, they’ll get a taxi.
How is this affecting Hailo?
The data shows that Hailo continues to provide a very strong service and the overwhelming majority of drivers continue to take Hailo jobs as always. There is no doubt that some drivers have expressed their concerns about the move, and we respect this, but many realise that a stronger Hailo means more work for them and the taxi industry.