Hailo has merged with Europe’s largest e-hailing company, mytaxi, which launches in Ireland today.
The consolidation of mytaxi, a subsidiary of Daimler, and Hailo will see both firms operate under one brand across 50 cities across Europe.
Andrew Pinnington, CEO mytaxi, said that the development was very natural as "the geographies of the two firms were complimentary and their business approaches were so similar".
“We’ve now got a business that is in ten European markets with around 120,000 registered drivers; that offers real scale and scope that wasn’t possible while operating on a smaller basis,” he said.
“Our majority owner Daimler have a fairly strong balance sheet with quite a lot of cash sitting around and they have a real strategic interest in driving this business,” he said.
“They’re interested in pumping money into marketing, technology and the mytaxi product to keep our growth rate really aggressive.”
Users of the popular taxi service Hailo will be prompted by their existing app to migrate over to the new mobile offering in the next few days.
In Ireland, some 10,000 drivers have been making the changeover to the new app for the last several weeks.
Passengers will still have access to their old Hailo app for a number of months to give them additional time to become familiar with the new product if necessary.
“Both tech teams in Hailo and mytaxi have worked over the last six to nine months to take the best features of each and combine them into one mytaxi platform,” head of Hailo’s Irish operations and now mytaxi’s General Manager in Ireland, Tim Arnold said.
“The first thing you’ll recognise is that the mytaxi app looks really familiar, the colour scheme is still the same – and the ‘Irishness’ that leant to the success of Hailo here is still visible.”
The mytaxi app is free for download on Google Play and the App Store. The company charges drivers a commission fee per trip, which is 12pc for Ireland.
What can you expect from mytaxi?
*Moving is easy
Hailo users can expect a relatively seamless migration, with a two button press allowing the new app to adopt all personal, geography and financial information from the old app securely.
*No more 'jumping' taxis
Features of the mytaxi app include a smoother real-time tracking of the taxi driver’s location, a detailed description of driver and taxi before it arrives, and additional ordering options such as pre-booking, Mercedes car request and multiple taxi booking.
*You can pick your favourite
The safety feature has also been improved as a passenger can share the details of the journey, location and driver while en route to their destination – before receiving an automatic email receipt at the journey’s end.
Users can also build up a favourite drivers list then with the additional security of knowing the driver from a previous trip.
“If you get in a taxi with a guy that you really like you can save him as a favourite driver so you could request him again if he was in the area while you were looking for a ride,” Mr Pinnington added.
The drivers can also see how many passenger have saved them as a favourite and can therefore build their own personal customer base within mytaxi.
*Get mytaxi on the street
Payment options have also been expanded with the new app as the journey can be paid by cash, directly with the mytaxi app, or with a in-car pinpad device.
It means you can jump into a mytaxi on the street without hailing through your phone if that's easier.
*Beware the one-tap
But there is one feature – that has been simplified from Hailo – that may cause a problem or two initially.
“The mytaxi app allows passengers to book a taxi with just one tap, rather than two,” said Mr Arnold.
“This may cause a few issues while people get used to the app of taxis being booked before they are ready.”
*Look out for the puns
If an effort to keep Hailo's familiar 'Irish banter', the marketing material for mytaxi - including their branded taxis - include a few quips like 'Different yoke, same folk'.
*There are mytaxi 'ambassadors'
When this merger was agreed upon, a number of high performing Hailo drivers were chosen to be the first 'Faces Of' the brand. They have the car re-designed with the new logo, get first dibs on airport calls - and have all the information you need to know about mytaxi.
Oh and the majority of them have phone chargers attached to the base of their head rests for your battery pleasure.