in South Boston
We recently sat down and had a little Q&A with Vanessa Kafka, the general manager of Hailo Boston, and asked why she decided to set up shop in South Boston. We also wanted to get the scoop on Hailo and how it works!
When was Hailo established and where?
We first launched Hailo in London in 2011 and have since come to market in Dublin, Toronto, Boston, Chicago and NYC with great success. Boston was our first US city, launched in October 2012. Hailo has a passionate, dedicated team working out of our South Boston office and they make up an important piece of the 150+ team we have operating globally.
Why did you choose South Boston for a place of business?
One of the major functions of our office in South Boston is to serve as a community center for drivers. With easy access to the airport and major thoroughfares, South Boston is ideal. Taxi drivers can get here, park right outside and get back on the road hassle-free.
What do you like about working in South Boston?
We love grabbing drinks after work at Franklin Southie (hi Peter!) and indulging in the amazing breakfast sandwiches from Doughboy Donuts. This neighborhood has a strong sense of community and it’s really fascinating to watch the old merge with the new. We’re enjoying the transformation just as much as we love getting to know the places that have been around here for decades and are adored by its neighbors.
What would you like to see open in South Boston?
More lunch spots!
How many local customers do you serve?
Globally we have more than 500,000 registered passengers and have carried 5 million passengers to date. Our Boston customer base is growing very quickly and we aim to serve everyone that lives in Boston. Passengers can relax at home, at the bar, or at the restaurant table, hail a cab with a tap of their smartphones and watch it come to pick them up in real time.
How do you make money?
We create efficiencies for drivers and increase accessibility for passengers, and depending on local market conditions, take a commission for the value and convenience we create. The app is free to download in the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store. In Boston, the passenger pays just $1.00 per ride for access to the Hailo network (payable only when a cab arrives). During peak times, we charge $2.50. This pricing structure allows us to maintain equilibrium between drivers and passengers during different hours of the day. Peak times are Monday through Friday 7am-9am, 3pm-7pm; and Friday and Saturday nights from 11pm-3am.
Why should people join Hailo?
Consumers can use Hailo to hail and pay for a taxi with two taps on their iPhone or Android. The Hailo app brings the taxi experience into the 21st century and alleviates the big problem of needing to wander around looking for a ride – passengers simply use their smartphone to see and hail the Boston licensed taxis nearby.
The app will give the ETA of the closest cab – the average waiting time is 2-3 minutes. Payment is effortless. When a passenger registers with Hailo he or she sets a preauthorized tip of choice – this means that when the ride is over, the passenger can simply hop out and he will receive an automatic and immediate electronic receipt.
Is it quicker than calling a cab?
Hailo provides a new, more convenient and easier cab experience for drivers and passengers. There’s no need to wander around the streets trying to hail a cab. One of the major issues in finding a cab is the “line of site” problem. A cab could be just a street away from where you’re standing, but you can’t see each other. In fact, we completed a survey of cab drivers and found that the average cab driver spends between a quarter and half of his time on shift driving around empty looking for passengers. Hailo eliminates this problem. Now the cab comes to you – to the door of your office, home or restaurant. Hailo is GPS enabled, so passengers can actually watch their cabs drive to them and are quoted with an estimated arrival time. The app also stores your payment information so you don’t need to have any cash on hand. We’ll email you a detailed receipt as soon as you reach your destination.