I was approached by Hailo to test out their app. For those who’ve not heard of it before, it’s an app that allows you to summon a nearby London Taxi to your location. You can pay the cabbie in cash, or by card via the app, and as soon as your journey is over, you get emailed a receipt. The App is available for Android and iPhone, with Blackberry and Windows Phone versions in the works. It sounds, pretty simple, but I was keen to put it to the test and see exactly how it worked. I was in London for work on Tuesday, and had a few short journeys to make so it seemed the perfect opportunity to test the app out.

So.. I got outside of Liverpool Street Station, grabbed a cheeky coffee, and fired the app up. Hailo instantly pinpoints your location and tells you how far away the nearest cabs are..

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As you can see there were a fair cluster of cabs nearby, and I could get a Taxi in 2 mins. I hit the ‘Pick Me Up Here’ button. I was then asked to confirm my location, and choose how I wanted to pay. Hailo had given me £15 credit in the form of a Card, so I chose ‘Card’. The app then started to ‘ping’ nearby drivers, offering the fare, I didn’t get an immediate response, I think it got to ‘Driver No. 5’ before someone picked up the fare.

Screenshot_2013-08-20-11-33-31 Screenshot_2013-08-20-11-33-54

The screen changed and showed the location of me, and the taxi heading towards me. It shows you a picture of the driver, and their registration plate too. There is a handy button for you to call the driver just in case there are any problems (more on that in a mo..)

Screenshot_2013-08-20-11-35-05

I didn’t notice at this point you can ‘Set a Destination’ too, the cab arrived quickly I hopped in, and was taken on a relatively short journey to my destination. The screen in the app then tells you you’re on board, and shows you where you are – you can also start to think about if you wish to give the driver a tip.

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The driver was lovely, so I decided to give him a tip – You can also toggle between setting it as a Business or Personal Trip too! Once you’ve arrived at the destination, the app brings up a little mini receipt showing the fare, tip and overall cost, and you instantly get an email receipt through. The final screen also allows to to rate your driver and experience, Joe was fab, so he got 5 stars!

Screenshot_2013-08-20-11-43-33

That was it! Simple, no messing around with money, asking for a receipt – quick, clean and easy! What a fabulous first experience with Hailo!

I had to make the return journey a few hours later, my heart was telling me to walk, my brain telling me to Hailo it.. The brain won!

Admittedly, the return journey wasn’t as smooth, despite me specifying the collection point with an accurate GPS location, and me STANDING outside the address, I was a little alarmed to see the app tell me the cab I’d booked was there and waiting for me. It wasn’t. I hit the ‘Call’ button and rang the driver, I got the ‘yeah I’m just round the corner mate – I’m surprised you can’t see me’ line.

Oh dear.

The driver said ‘Oh.. hang on, let me drive further down..’ moments later, the taxi arrived into view. The cabbie apologised and admitted he thought the address was further down, which I suppose is fair enough (although I imagine Hailo GIVES the driver my GPS location?). Not the end of the world, but not as slick as my first journey, still overall, a pretty decent experience!

I really love technology like this, it makes everything so easy, I’d definitely use Hailo again (and I’ll try and get a video next time of the app in action). I think it would be a godsend getting a cab this way when travelling around London with small people and would save messing around on the Tube in rush hour with a buggy! Hailo are in a marketplace that is becoming more crowded, there are a few firms offering similar services, and I’m interesting to try them out, hopefully soon! For now though, I’m pleased with how smooth and slick Hailo was.

Disclaimer – Hailo offered me £30 credit to try out the app to review it, all the words are my own.

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