Hail to Hailo, the latest taxi-booking app on the block

A new London-based taxi app has entered the local taxi-booking scene with the launch of Hailo on Wednesday. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND LIM
A new London-based taxi app has entered the local taxi-booking scene with the launch of Hailo on Wednesday. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND LIM

SINGAPORE - A new app has entered the local taxi-booking scene with the launch of Hailo on Wednesday.

Hailo, a London-based company, has tied up with SMRT Road Holdings, a unit of SMRT Corporation, to introduce the taxi-booking application for passengers and taxi drivers in Singapore. Users will be able to use the app starting on Wednesday.

In a market saturated with other such apps, such as GrabTaxi, EasyTaxi and Uber, Hailo is hoping its combination of speed and convenience will give it an edge over the competition.

Instead of using a bidding system where the first driver to accept a request gets the job, Hailo operates on an "allocation algorithm" that determines which driver is the nearest to the passenger and assigns the driver to that request.

If the driver accepts the assignment, the passenger is notified. If the driver rejects it, then the algorithm chooses the next nearest driver.

Hailo's chairman, Mr Ron Zeghibe, said this feature will decrease the waiting time for passengers.

Another feature that Hailo is hoping to entice passengers with is its fuss-free payment structure. Passengers can register their credit cards with Hailo and can travel cash-free with a booking. They will then receive e-mail receipts at the end of their trips.

Hailo was first launched in London in 2011, and has since expanded globally to Japan, Ireland and Spain.

lesterh@sph.com.sg