Hailo, the taxi hailing app that got its start in London, is about to give Uber a run for its money in New York City.
By the end of this summer, Hailo will launch its executive car service in New York, Hailo co-CEO Tom Barr told Business Insider.
Dubbed Hailo Exec, the fleet will have cars like from makers like Mercedes and BMW. Unlike Uber Black, Hailo Exec will use a fixed fare payment system. Yes, that means no surge charging.
That comes shortly after Hailo launched Hailo+, its sedan and town car service.
With Hailo+, the company says you’ll only pay about 15% more than a regular taxi ride in New York City.
Unlike Uber, all of the drivers on the Hailo platform are commercially licensed drivers and are within regulation of the cities they operate in. They’re also all fully insured. Hailo’s motto is that you don’t have to destroy the basis of an industry in order to disrupt it. Hailo calls this “constructive disruption.”
Recently, Uber has found itself at the center of numerous lawsuits over regulations and insurance policies. Earlier this year, a man filed a lawsuit against Uber and an UberX driver for hitting and killing his six-year-old daughter.
That’s likely why the University of California system is considering banning its thousands of employees from using Uber and Lyft. A ban on these services could make sense, however. If a university staff member were in an accident in an Uber or Lyft car, it’s not clear which entity would compensate them, and the university could theoretically be liable. That’s why UC is still looking for ways to overcome safety concerns.
As Barr notes, zero lawsuits have been filed against Hailo. For the UC system, Hailo would arguably be a safer, less risky option. That said, Hailo has yet to launch on the west coast.
Hailo also isn’t available in as many U.S. cities as Uber (Uber has 10+ “hub” cities in the U.S. while Hailo has just six). But that’s mostly because Hailo is taking more of an Apple-like approach, Barr says, while Uber has taken more of a Napster approach.
Startups like Uber and Lyft can launch faster in cities because they tend to deal with the regulatory issues after the fact. That’s why we’re also seeing those startups get slapped with cease and desist letters. With Hailo, the company ensures its service adheres to a city’s regulations before it launches there.
Before Hailo could launch in New York, it spent six months working with regulators regarding TPEP systems, which are the combined taxi meter, touch screen, and credit card terminal. Integrating these systems into the cars took another three months.
Hailo has raised over $US80 million to date from investors including Union Square Ventures, Accel Partners, Wellington Partners, Atomico Ventures, and Richard Branson.
Business Insider reached out to Uber for comment on the startup’s regulatory challenges. The company declined to comment.