Support E-Hailing in NYC!

Last year, at about this time, USV met Jay Bregman and Ron Zeghibe, who are two of the cofounders of Hailo, a mobile app for hailing taxis, that had just launched in London. If anyone has been to London in the past year, you probably know that Hailo has taken London by fire with over half of all cabbies in London accepting rides on Hailo. Hailo has gone onto launch in Dublin, Toronto, Chicago, and Boston, and they hope to launch in NYC in 2013. Imagine being able to hail a yellow cab in NYC from your Android or iPhone? I cannot wait.

But before Hailo, Uber and other e-hailing apps can hail yellow cabs in NYC, we need changes to our taxi cab regulations. And that vote is TOMORROW. So I've asked Jay Bregman to pen a guest post explaining to all of you, and hopefully all of NYC (and especially five reluctant regulators), why we need e-hailing to be allowed in NYC.


Every ten seconds across the world a licensed taxi driver accepts a Hailo E-hail. And with each match, Hailo helps chip away at the millions of dollars lost by drivers and hours wasted by passengers due to inefficiency in the market. E-hailing apps help solve the line of sight problem – they are the natural evolution of the arm-flail, the doorman’s whistle, the light outside the hotel – and nowhere will our impact be greater than right here in New York City, my hometown.

Right now, cab drivers (and prospective passengers) are limited by their line of sight at any given time. A passenger can be very close by, but if a driver does not see them, they will not get picked up. As a result, the fare is lost, and the passenger misses out on a cab ride. Drivers currently spend up to half of their time cruising empty in NYC, desperately looking for passengers.


This does not make any sense.

E-hailing is now commonplace in cities across the globe – including London, Dublin, Boston, Toronto, Chicago, San Francisco and many others. In London, half of London’s 23,000 drivers safely use apps to get up to 30% more business every day. Hailo passengers on average wait only two minutes from tap to taxi.

This Thursday, the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission’s nine-member board will vote on proposed rules which will allow E-Hailing in NYC, subject to a balanced and sensible licensing scheme similar to those already in place in cities such as Chicago and Toronto. If adopted, the rules would take effect in mid-February. But politics – in particular outcry from adjoining industries such as black car and livery companies seeking government protection against change – are currently threatening whether the rules will pass and therefore whether this technology will be allowed in NYC, where, like London, cabs provide a critical, cost efficient service.

Four commissioners have already expressed support for the rules – meaning New Yorkers are just one vote away from a substantial technology improvement to the iconic Yellow Cab. I am writing this post as the Founder & CEO of Hailo – one such E-Hailing provider – to explain why E-Hailing is important, why it is ready for NYC, and what you can do to help convince the commission if you agree. To be very clear, these rules do not select a single supplier or favor Hailo over anyone else; they merely establish an open marketplace in which E-Hail providers may compete for the hearts and minds of Yellow Cab drivers and the riding public.


There is overwhelming evidence that E-hailing works, it has been proven on New York style scale and sophistication, and it will do nothing but good for passengers and drivers – so why do TLC commissioners remain unconvinced?


The TLC must pick up the reins of innovation and competition and finish the task started when credit card machines were introduced in 2005, when the contracts with these providers first contemplated smartphone apps. We pledge our support to the drivers and people of New York, and the TLC, to make sure this time we get it right.

To make your voice heard, please email the TLC at [email protected] or contact the Chair here. The vote is Thursday, 13 December.

Further Information

Hailo’s testimony at a recent TLC Public Hearing on the E-Hailing regulations:


Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    have a very auspicious 12 12 12 everyone.

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Cheers! Ditto!Would make a bloody nice change, lol 😉

    2. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

      you too… have an auspicious day. (i already had mine :-)).looking forward to 21-12-12 🙂

    3. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Testing, testing … 1-2, 1-2, 1-2.Phew, it worked!

      1. jason wright


      2. ShanaC


  2. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Interesting. I’ve not been to London for quite a few months; I shall definitely try this when next there. Budgetary issues meant that last time I was there I actually invested in my first ever Oyster card for transport on the tube (urgh, but impressive service/fast and OK outside of rush-hour, I admit) but hopefully next time I can indulge myself in a black cab – splendid sanctuary, one can work and watch the world go by. I love them.Ironically, getting a London black cab (note: the best cabs and cabbies in the world) has never been easier, re: recession/etc, but such a tool is always useful when the need is urgent or the weather lousy/tube problems, etc.Good luck, NYC!

    1. Rohan

      I found this interesting as well, Carl since I’ve had similar experience with hailing cabs in that there’s hardly ever trouble booking one.That plus I don’t take all that many cabs…All the best with NYC, Hailo!

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Just asked my London cabbie friend about it…”taxidermista ‏@taxidermista@carl_rahn Hi Carl, it’s certainly caused disruption & grown, but not a fan myself. I prefer to keep 100% of my takings..!”He’s a cool guy – him and some other cabbies have looked into this space in past and tried launching their own app, etc. As you say, Rohan, the sheer availability of London black cabs now somewhat negates the need for such an app, unless in circumstances as described…

        1. William Mougayar

          So the 30% more business isn’t cutting it there?

          1. Carl Rahn Griffith

            I believe in London – and like most places, ’twas ever thus (even more so in the current climate) – ‘Cash Is King’ … QED

        2. JimHirshfield

          Interesting he doesn’t want to pay the fee for the service, but wanted to launch his own app and take everyone else’s? Come on, @taxidermista

          1. Carl Rahn Griffith

            He’s a Manchester United fan ;-)@taxidermista? If you’re reading this, over to you…! 🙂

          2. JimHirshfield

            I don’t follow UK Football, so I don’t get the reference. But I get the message. 😉

          3. Rohan

            Dave! Heart warming to see this comment!Great game! 🙂

  3. jason wright

    King Canute does come to mind.However, the progressive and pleasing compromise would be to allow only cabs and taxis powered by electricity to be Hailo enabled.I like big carrots and small sticks.

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      The whole cab system in NY baffled me – NYC drivers with no ‘knowledge’ of their city – ie, no equivalent of the years of training London black cab (Hackney) cabbies have to do – and outside of NYC even more weird – if I took LIRR out to one of our offices in (eg) Melville, I’d have to wait for the cabbie to get a full load of passengers and then he’d drop us off one by one – and charge us all full fares. Utterly bizarre…

      1. jason wright

        not good

      2. Dave Pinsen

        If they ever made a test similar to London’s in NYC, they’d be at risk of being sued by the federal Justice Department for “disparate impact” (… ).

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          Lol. WTF?! PC gone mad. Such are the times we live in.Thanks for the fish…

      3. ShanaC

        he’s outside the nyc cab system. And melville?

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          Sure, but in the UK – or anywhere else I have been to, which is lots of very different places over the years – I have never seen such a practice. It really p*ssed me off but the locals saw it as the norm. Weird.Melville? Urgh – don’t go there, literally! ;-)That’s why I only went over and worked there on the understanding I did a reverse commute – ie, I would live in Manhattan and go out to the office when necessary – no way would I live out that way – sorry, Melville, but the ‘burbs kills the soul.

  4. awaldstein

    The sooner this happens the better.I’m so in with this.

  5. kirklove

    Super idea, definitely support. Though hate riding in cabs in NYC. Makes me sick (literally). Subway man for life, it’s far cheaper and way quicker.

    1. fredwilson

      I am with you on subways. Josh and I subwayed out and back to Brooklyn last night to see the Nets Knicks. Nice rivalry shaping up there.

      1. kirklove

        Your 39ers came back!

        1. fredwilson

          With a huge Jason Kidd three to seal it!!

          1. kidmercury

            knicks are very exciting. i think they need to pace themselves a bit better though, they have some seniors they’ll need to be able to perform in the playoffs. really hoping they can embarrass the heat in the post-season. their victory over them a few nights back is a promising sign!

          2. kirklove

            The Knicks live and die by the three. Right now their shooting percentage is hot. It is inevitable it will plummet. Right now the Knicks are the Duke Blue Devils of the NBA. If they keep making threes they’ll keep winning. If they stop, they’re toast.

          3. kidmercury

            they are passing the ball really well. if they can keep doing that, and i have hope they can, i think they can do really well.

          4. fredwilson

            They get Amare and Shump back soon.

          5. fredwilson

            They destroyed the heat in Miami without Melo

          6. kidmercury

            that was great. novak can be lethal!

          7. kirklove

            Jason F’ing Kidd. I think he is getting three checks: His NBA Salary, NBA Pension, and Social Security.

          8. fredwilson

            I think he may have some alimony bills

          9. ErikSchwartz

            Isn’t he like 100 years old? He is still playing?I do not follow basketball.

          10. fredwilson

            38 but who is counting anything other than his shooting % 🙂

    2. awaldstein

      You and I both Kirk.I’m a subway and bike guy myself. Living downtown west when often the destination is downtown east is a pain though. Need to go up to catch the L to come back!

    3. William Mougayar

      I’ve been using the NY subway a lot more than before lately, and I love & rely on the HopStop app.

      1. John Revay

        Me too, being from out of town – I find that to be a must have app, followed by CooCoo for Metro north train scheduling

      2. kirklove

        Embark by the MTA is free and pretty good. I’m a big fan of the MTA (sorry Kid)

      3. takingpitches

        I am a big fan of HopStop but I don’t understand why the app doesn’t let you email directions to yourself.

        1. William Mougayar

          Good feature request for them 🙂 I agree. It would be helpful because you lose service in the subway and you can only refer to the last route.

    4. takingpitches

      I love the subway and far prefer it to a cab. My dad worked for the MTA for decades.That said the rate of fare increases on the monthly pass are absurd.

      1. awaldstein

        I’m contrary today on this whole topic.The subway pass is hands down the best transportation deal on the planet.

        1. Abdallah Al-Hakim

          I think in most big cities such as London and NY – the subway trumps all other transportation methods.

          1. awaldstein

            Yes..but depends whether you are talking in the city or connecting out of the cityIn London or Milan or Portland…taking the tubes from the airport to city center is insane not to.In NYC…airport by the subways is a pain. I talke the subway everywhere. I almost never take it to the airport.Generalizations for cities as complex as NYC almost always crumble.

          2. Abdallah Al-Hakim

            I was talking about commuting within the city. I do think airport-city center transportation is super important but few cities in the world do a good job with this. Toronto for example is awful when it comes to connecting with the airport but they apparently are working on installing a new train line for this purpose. I have heard that Asian cities such as Shanghai and Seoul have a superb system but have not been there to try it. London and Paris are excellent. The airports that I flown to in Milan didn’t have good tube support but they were not the major international airport.

          3. takingpitches

            The subway to JFK followed by the AirTrain is much cheaper and also often more efficient for me during weekday rush hour than trying 1) to find a cab that will actually take me to JFK during rush hour and 2) actually getting there. Once I got a cab to take me to JFK during morning rush hour and the guy proceeded to mumble at me under his breath for the next hour and a half. Incredibly unpleasant experience 🙂

          4. awaldstein

            Everybody has their own NYC.Never go to JFK w/o a reason, car service is close to cab price so why ever take a cab is my way of addressing the snarl and the insanity of having a driver who can’t navigate Brooklyn city streets.Rush hour = nightmare. I just don’t travel in it. If I have an early evening flight I go early and work. Rather work in piece that commute in stress.Train just doesn’t work for me as is. Everyone tackles this in their own way.

          5. sprugman

            I think it’s gotten a lot better. The air train to the E to another train to home isn’t much slower than a cab, and it can be faster than a cab going out to JFK at certain times. Only problem is if you have luggage.

          6. Jay Bregman

            NYC is different – “Taxi fares now account for an estimated 30% of all fares paid by passengers for taxi, bus, subway, and car service and black car trips in New York City, and 45% of fares paid for trips within Manhattan.” from http://www.schallerconsult….

        2. takingpitches

          Perhaps: I don’t know.I think the subway is the best public transportation system that I have ever experienced, particularly in terms of reach.And it paid the bills for us growing up so that’s worth something too.All that said, even if it’s the best deal, it’s getting more expensive faster than many other things. At the time of the 2003 hike, the 30 day pass went up to $70 from $63. I read somewhere that they are proposing $125 with the new year. That’s 5-6% inflation compounded. To me, that’s a lot and a legitimate gripe. (Although I am sure a big part of the cause is my dad’s and his colleague’s pensions, so I suppose I am hedged.)

          1. awaldstein

            Best value per dollar in one of the world’s most expensive places.Glad to pay each time.

      2. kidmercury

        totally absurd, not enough new yorkers complain about it, they just sit there and take it while deluding themselves about how awesome it is to live in one of the most heavily taxed jurisdictions in the land of the free. people need to get angry.

        1. awaldstein

          Funny…I don’t feel angry about the subway system at all.What it provides even with busted AC and crowd and all the BS is worth it.I’m not deluding myself Kid. i’m in awe of the power of the #2 train to get me from home in TriBeCA to upper west in what, 40 minutes!

          1. Anne Libby

            And the storm recovery was astonishing. I’m a huge fan of the subway.

          2. takingpitches

            The MTA did an incredible job.

          3. Anne Libby

            The work to shut down the system and get it back up and running is a huge engineering/logistics effort that I imagine took a lot more expertise than the general public will ever understand.

          4. takingpitches

            The shutdown and recovery seems to have at least temporarily thrust Joe Lhota forward as a mayoral candidate

          5. Anne Libby

            He also used social media like a champ, starting before the storm. As I waited for my power to go out, I caught the set of photos they took — and tweeted — as they closed down Grand Central. (They’re MTAphotos on Flickr.)…

          6. fredwilson

            I am on the N right now. I use it almost exclusively during the day and often at night (like last night to Brooklyn and back)

          7. Anne Libby

            Checking email on the train is full of win.

          8. kidmercury

            quality is relative to price. here’s a chart worth considering:…has quality improved that much?much of it has to do with the inflation scam which sends the price of everything up, although lately we’ve seen the MTA increase fares by double digit percent in a single year. when i first moved to new york in 1998 the monthly pass was $60. now it’s $104. trains are slower and more crowded and the city is more in debt. yes, it’s better than most other mass transit systems, although i don’t find consolation is being the best of the worst.

          9. awaldstein

            Thanks for this Kid. I really enjoy your point of view. Smart challenges are a gift.Sure…there’s a point. I grew up here. Remember riding the subway with my grandfather being lectured in Yiddish the stops that I couldn’t get off at. And yeah, I know what the LES, Soho, E Village stops were like in the 70s coming home from whatever early morning.So stuff is better. There’s no fear. Gee, even digital signs;)But…yes we pay and alot. I know I live here and pay taxes and mortgages and the rest.

          10. Dave Pinsen

            Would be interesting to overlay that chart with one tracking wages & benefits of subway workers over same period.

          11. kidmercury

            we should also overlay a chart tracking quality of service from MTA workers.

          12. Anne Libby

            What metrics would you use to measure quality of service?

          13. kidmercury

            i was largely joking and implying their customer service is terrible. but i suppose we could monitor their brainwaves to see if they’ve gotten angrier and more arrogant over the years, which i suspect they have.

          14. Anne Libby

            Now that token booths are mostly gone, I don’t have much contact with transit workers — though I do know someone in management at the MTA. Last summer I took a bad fall in the train station, and an MTA worker was there with me pretty quickly. (I really experienced the kindness of NYC that day, including from the MTA.) My experience, mostly in Manhattan: trains arrive more frequently, and there’s less litter, graffiti, and better temperature control. Ticket vending machines work pretty well. The system is much safer than it was when I arrived in the late 80s. As is the whole city. (Though, how did I get to a 17.98 balance on my metrocard?)

          15. kidmercury

            my favorite part is how they have odd amounts on the prepaid cards so that most people will end up with a card that has some money on it but not enough for a whole ride.

          16. Anne Libby

            Hah, yes.You can round up on the refill — I don’t know how I wound up with a value that doesn’t end in 5 or 0. I tried rounding up with the .02 on plastic, no dice. To be stubborn, I will attempt a cash refill with some of those pennies I have sitting in a dish.

          17. ErikSchwartz

            I don’t think I have spoken to an MTA worker since the Metrocard was introduced.

          18. kidmercury

            rest assured you’re not missing out.

          19. Anne Libby

            And economic conditions — tax revenues and their dependency on Wall Street comp, how much the city subsidizes the MTA, etc.

          20. ErikSchwartz

            The line on the chart for BART is total BS. on BART you pay by distance and most BART rides I take end up costing well over $3.

          21. kidmercury

            that is true BART sucks

          22. ShanaC

            And the CTA? As expensive most often, doesn’t run all night….

        2. kirklove

          Kid we part ways here. For $2.25, less than even getting into a cab, I can get anywhere in the five boroughs. Pretty damn amazing if you ask me.

          1. kidmercury

            it’s all relative. the cost was $1.50 about a decade ago. 50% increase. for what? in my experiences the trains run slower and the MTA employees are still rude and acting like they are doing you a huge favor. i don’t like price increases, especially big ones, and especially when they come without increase in quality.

          2. Kirsten Lambertsen

            You need to have taken a subway ride in the 80’s. Things have gotten much better. Although, I miss tokens 😉

          3. kirklove

            I would have LOVED to live in NYC in the 80s. I wanted to be in The Warriors!

          4. ShanaC

            no, no you wouldn’t have. My parents remember congratulating the guy who murdered someone on the subway because a gang person pulled a knife. Guy got off.

          5. kirklove

            It’s still cheap Kid, especially when I pay $4.25 for a latte!

          6. ShanaC

            some areas are harder than others. red hook, for example. Also it annoys me to no end that manhattan real estate prices are somewhat driven by subway access. The bus service is so meh compared.Bring back trolleys?

      3. kirklove

        I still think it’s a great deal. I ride it at least 70 times a month. That’s less than a $1.50 a ride for me.

        1. takingpitches

          I take it about 50 times a month, so I have switched to doing pay per ride and taking that discount.

          1. kirklove

            That math would make it more expensive no? $104 for unlimited, 50 x 2.25 = $112.50. You do get a few bonus rides, but my guess is 50 paid rides are still more. One bonus, the paid cards last longer than 30 days if you don’t ride that often.

          2. takingpitches

            There’s a 7% bonus so I think I have calculated that between 49 and 50 rides is the crossover. I was finding that because of holidays, vacations, and because sometimes I find myself just deciding to walk, I tended to overestimate the rides I ended up taking in a month.But, yes, ultimately it’s a wash.

      4. ShanaC

        how much were they? I just heard about them last night. And they seem to also exist for the regular metrocards as well.I know they claim, adjusted to inflation, mta fares are cheaper now. I don’t buy it at all.

    5. takingpitches

      My hierarchy is NYC:WalkingSubwayCab

    6. JLM

      .Plus it IS New York. I love the experience of seeing all the people. It is real life.Of course, I always look like a freakin’ tourist..

      1. kirklove

        Greatest show on earth.

  6. Rahul Deodhar

    There is a super need for this app here in Mumbai. Further, if I can pool with my friends on facebook or Google+ or twitter it will make it even cooler. I hope we can have the business model accepts replication as Cory Doctrow states in his novel Makers. This business model is very similar to his concepts.

  7. William Mougayar

    Would a vote from NY visitors count? We probably use a fair share of the market, maybe 30%+? When I was in London last June having dinner at friends, they called us a cab via Hailo & we could see his movements as he drove towards the house. If Toronto, Dublin, Boston & Chicago can do this, I’m sure New York can. You have my vote and I’m sure every New York visitor’s vote! 

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      I can certainly see use in such an example scenario – if on the streets of main parts of London however, not much need now for reasons discussed, below.However, when the economy recovers/booms (ha!) and the affluence (so close to effluence, eh?) garden is rosy and full of cheer and optimism no doubt black cabs will be as rare once again as rocking-horse sh*t, so the app will become even more useful! 😉

    2. Jay Bregman

      Thanks William! One of our core philosophies has been to create a network where you can download and register for Hailo anywhere in the world and use the app and your securely stored card details in any city. We believe this makes every Hailo-enabled city more tourist and traveller friendly, and generally more accessible.

      1. William Mougayar

        Great vision. Thanks! Good luck with the expansion. “If you can make it in New York, You can make it anywhere!” – Frank Sinatra

  8. Ryan Frew

    Hope this passes for Hailo, competing companies, NYC locals and tourists alike. In addition to the line of sight problem, this has an awesome ability to tackle language barriers as well. It’s not quite as necessary in a city like New York that’s so heavily populated with cabs, but trying to call a cab company when you don’t speak their language…and you don’t really even know where you are or how to pronounce it…sucks. New York is just the next step in making this kind of service a globally accepted norm.

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      I once had a NYC cabbie who didn’t know where/what Greenwich Village was…:-|In London a black cab driver can tell you the best restaurant/bar/show/hotel/etc. And give a free commentary on politics, art, economics, etc. They are for sure the best bellwether for the economy/zeitgeist. They see and hear it all. And can take you from one obscure street to another obscure street, tens of miles away – all from his/her ‘knowledge’ – fantastic service.Now, THAT would be an app… 🙂

      1. John Revay

        humm, is there specific training or testing – or is it just a certain # of years they must somehow drive to be licensed as a cabbie

          1. John Revay

            Interesting -“It is the world’s most demanding training course for taxicab-drivers, and applicants will usually need at least twelve ‘appearances’ (attempts at the final test), after preparation averaging 34 months, to pass the examination”

        1. JLM

          .That seems to be more and more of a problem.Last month I was in town and the cabbie literally did not know how to get to JFK from 57th St.I had to help him..

          1. Carl Rahn Griffith

            It’s bizarre. All part of the London experience – or of any great city – is the cab service and the characters/knowledge they have. Such a shame that a great city such as NYC has such a lousy cab culture. Interesting role reversal – over in NYC bar staff are respected/professional ‘baristas’ (rightly) but in London the bar-staff (that term sums it up) standard is often very poor and the job is looked-down upon – but here the black cab drivers are middle-class, used to earn very good money/still do OK, and highly respected (rightly) – reverse is true in NYC with yellow cabs.Just shows that any service/function in life can – and should be – be professional, well-paid and respected.Remind me again, why does an investment banker earn xx times more than, say, a nurse or a teacher?Fiat f*ckwittery.Anyway, whatever…

          2. JLM

            .Yes the culture of a city can in many ways be spread like an epidemic by the souls of the persons who provide the “face” of the city.I returned from the Orient 3 times when a soldier in the early 1970s and each time I went for cookies and ice cold milk at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco.It was apparently a tradition amongst returning Navy officers to come directly from the port to the Fairmont.The bartender at the Fairmont can spot a returning squid or soldier and provides cold milk and warm cookies on the spot.All three times I had the same bartender and though I know it was absolutely a fiction — I thought he recognized me. Haha, gullible youth.I also “heard” that some very fine and hospitable San Fran ladies would provide extraordinary welcome home rituals for the returned. But who really knows, eh?.

          3. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Cool, lol – sometimes it is best to just believe and wonder ;-)I loved the fact that at my local when I was in NYC – Heartland by Radio City – I got to know the baristas well and they often gave me a free drink as we chatted away the evening (as I was often on my own in NYC). OK, I tipped always and pretty well but it became a very circular micro-economy based on respect, trust and friendship.We could all do with more of that.

          4. LE

            “squid”Like with real estate, there are so many cool words associated with the armed forces. Remembering when I first heard “sorties”. (With real estate one of the first was “haircut”).

          5. JLM

            .In any profession or endeavor, the “vernacular” is an almost dead giveaway as to where someone has been and what they really know.The military is very interesting as it is divided between the combat arms and the combat support/service arms. Warriors and supporters.They speak an almost different language especially at the company grade level — Lts and Capts.You could mumble that someone was a “dirty leg” — non Airborne qualified officer. Or a “5-jump commando” — went to Airborne school, never served with an Airborne unit.The military was into “badges” way before the advent of social media. When you met a new officer, you could quickly scan his medals and see where he had been — “been there badges”. You could tell which wars he had served in, had he been to Berlin or Korea or any other theater for which you got a “been there badge”.A particular vanity that young officers used to embrace was to only wear their decorations for valor — awards for bravery as opposed to merit.At first blush, you might see a slim row or two of medals but then upon inspection you would see a CIB, a Ranger tab, jump wings and 4 awards for valor. Like caviar and absolutely forbidden.In 5 minutes after you report into a new unit, the other officers, non-coms (sergeants) and men know what kind of officer you should make.You look at a guy like Gen Petreaus and all but one of his medals is for “been there” or merit and only the Bronze Star w V (valor) is for bravery.The rest are just “fruit salad”.Like in sailing calling a rope a “halyard”, eh?.


            “Remembering when I first heard “sorties”.”Doughboy.

          7. ShanaC

            i couldn’t do it…

          8. JLM

            .Do what?.

          9. ShanaC

            guide a cab to jfk. I grew up near there, so going to jfk historically would be a process. it would actually be easier for me in general to go home to my parents (though I happen to be here already) and have them drive me to JFK (it is 10 minutes away) than try figuring out how to direct someone to JFK

          10. Guest

            .GPS, cher..

      2. Cam MacRae

        I had one who couldn’t get me from JFK to Downtown Brooklyn without finding MetroTech in his GPS POI database.

      3. ShanaC

        they do that in nyc too if you ask them where their favorite version of their own ethnic food is 🙂

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          Cool, but not very inclusive, lol.London black cab drivers are truly amazing in this respect, the sheer scope of their knowledge spans so many boundaries – that’s the beauty of it – if in an area I don’t know I always ask which pub or restaurant they recommend and they give a spot-on recommendation, always. It’s one of the things I miss about not being in London much nowadays.The Zeitgeist they collect from their passengers is amazing – unique, I’d say. Forget 4square or TripAdvisor if in London – ask a cabbie.If we could just harness that in an app/etc – wow.Anyone want to back me, lol? I’ll give doing a start-up one more go if so 😉

  9. takingpitches

    I am constitutionally and heavily disposed to these things, but I would love if Jay addressed some of the counter arguments if he is monitoring the comments?Will this make it harder to get a street hail? (Didn’t we get rid of radio hails in NYC for this reason after giving it a shot?)Does this make it even easier for cabs to come up with an excuse to not take folks to the outer boroughs?How does this help get a cab at JFK or LGA without disrupting the driver lines in place?Any safety issues? Do we want drivers spending even more time on phones?Would the proposal allow a premium for ehail rides?

    1. takingpitches

      My instinct is that true reform within the existing yellow cab medallion system would be ehail plus expanding the number of medallions so there would not be an impact on street hails.Even better would be ehail inside and outside the existing yellow cab medallion system.Easy entry is usually a good step toward solving market problems.But if we do that, we should be honest that there will be existing taxi drivers already struggling who would lose out in the transition.

      1. awaldstein

        Changing medallion system is simply not going to happen in the near future and I don’t see how the two are connected.Change and democratize access and the rest follows.i honestly don’t understand who the loser is here.

        1. markslater

          no its not – believe me. We are in this business.

          1. awaldstein

            Good to know.Now I know that I don’t know clearly what your biz is.Shoot me a link please.And–congrats on the funding!

          2. markslater

            we can get you a cab for free and conveniently – thats for sure!thanks!

      2. ShanaC

        they need to expand the amount of medallions anyway – last year two sold for over a million dollars

    2. awaldstein

      The cons are non of these really. There are private car services on call all over the city.The only con (and it’s not one) is resistance to change.

      1. markslater

        simply not true. The net net to the consumer is that a ride is more expensive – they are a toll booth on existing charging structures.

        1. kidmercury

          you are saying ehailing makes things more expensive — can you elaborate?

          1. ErikSchwartz

            Unless the cabbie is willing to take a margin cut (and it seems like there’s not a ton of margin there) someone needs to pay the middleman.

          2. markslater

            which absolutely wont happen eric – how many times does the cabbie say that his cc machine is broken –

          3. awaldstein

            Often…and then they just get no tip as no one has cash.CC has doubled the average tip for cabbies.

          4. markslater

            but they hate it as the process (veriphone in most cases) levies a 5% tax on the fare – now hailo comes along and tries the same thing – NOT HAPPENING.

          5. awaldstein

            Cool…getting an education I was expecting.In NYC, cab/car usage needs to be addressed in tiers.Going to the airports? Car services are only fractionally more expensive than cabs. No reason to cab it.Going around town. The opposite. Need a car to follow you around for a bit. Prohibitive.These these to be normalized in some way.

          6. markslater

            we cant touch new york right now – its very complicated. the most of all.

          7. JamesHRH

            Using Uber as an example, don;t they get auto-cleared on the back end? shouldn’t this expedite the offload of e-hailed passengers? Don’t they just get out?

          8. markslater

            yes. and this works. But now ask the driver how often they get their money?the simple 30 second process of running your card through a machine i’d argue is not that huge a deal

          9. JamesHRH

            Sorry, I doubt a driver would stick with these guys if he was not getting paid.I like the idea of paying for the cab while it drives to you with it s light out.No premium, just longer ride, in essence.

          10. markslater

            ask the drivers. dont assume. go ahead and ask any taxi driver.

          11. markslater

            every time you take a cab – ask “if i promise you 20% more business would you be happy if i only paid you weekly”?

          12. Jay Bregman

            Hailo guarantees all payments to driver for Hailo e-hails – so drivers know they are getting paid no matter what. That’s what allows you to jump out of the cab when it arrives and not swipe or wait for a receipt – add the two together and you get up to two minutes – that’s important to most passengers in NYC and other cities 🙂

          13. markslater

            what part of guarantee dors a driver not have today? are you talking about jumpers?

          14. markslater

            its just got approved – great for all and best of luck Jay in NYC. uber already got their email out! get on it!

          15. Dan T

            did you realize yourself how rude you sounded yesterday, or did someone else have to tell you? resulting in this post a day later?

          16. markslater

            not at all. i am going to compete head on with them. i was having an open debate. I found freds post to be a gross distortion of the reality on the ground and i chose to counter what was presented. You took that as me being rude, and yet you dont even know me.

          17. Dan T

            love open debate. was genuinely curious if you considered that some of your comments might have come off as condescending, dismissive, etc., I’m certain that was not your intent. I imagine you are not a rude person. you have to be confident, passionate, smart, etc., to be successful in this stuff and tone is sometimes lost in short comments.

          18. PhilipSugar

            No because they are not forcing a single cab to use the service. Forcing credit card acceptance on every cab is totally different.

          19. takingpitches

            This hasn’t happened to me here in a long time, although it used to happen all the time when CC acceptance was mandated. I remember one cab starting to drive me to LGA and then stopping and pretending that they stalled when they realized that I was going to use a CC.I think the cabbies have bought in because of the increased tip issue, or because they have been yelled at so much about it.

          20. kidmercury

            but that’s a business model issue, isn’t it? some e-hailing services may wish to take a cut from the cabbie. others may wish to charge customers for the app. others will do it all for free in exchange for location-based data (i.e. perhaps someone like foursquare). others may do it as a defensive strategy (i.e. google). why not let the market sort it out?

          21. markslater

            yes – KM – correct. We are FREE to perpetuity. all the current category of apps are toll boothing. It wont work. it does not scale having to negotiate with the cab. the functionality of and e-hail does not warrant a surcharge – and good luck taking the processing business away from the likes of veriphone.

          22. kidmercury

            okay, so far i think we agree — if i were a cabbie i would not really want to share the transaction, unless i saw rock solid proof it would be worthwhile to do so. but why ban it? i mean if it sucks no one’s going to sign up for it anyway, right? why does the taxi commission of the city need to get involved? why is there even a taxi commission in the first place?

          23. markslater

            metering mostly. and i agree with this. Ancillary safety issues (govt vetting of drivers) – but i agree with change as well but not every new technology has to blow up an existing framework which is the current class of apps appraoch – there is evolution as an option as well.

          24. kidmercury

            well i don’t see the metering argument, government takes its cut of everything via taxes. as for government vetting drivers uber and all the others can do that too. why not have government vet bloggers? commentrs on blogs? someone might get hurt by a bad comment……but i know it is what it is and people will live with it until it ends.

          25. markslater

            metering is a legit argument for sure. But its too complicated to get in to it on this blog.

          26. Abdallah Al-Hakim

            I am finding it strange that you are being challenged on all of your business models. I think many of them make valid points and only by testing them will it be clear. There is no point to kill these ideas at the onset. Also, it will be good to know how the service operates in London.

          27. kidmercury

            agreed. at the end of hte day, no one knows what will work and what won’t — entrepreneurs will need to develop hypotheses, test, and find out. people forget it now, but pre-google, search was considered a bad business because you sent the away from your site right away. turns that out seemingly logical perspective was embarrassingly wrong.

          28. PhilipSugar

            There is a taxi commission because it is a public service, without it, there would be chaos. Just got back from a third world country, and no commission, and it was utter chaos.

          29. kidmercury

            i still don’t get it. i don’t understand why taxis aren’t like newspapers. anyone can setup a newspaper. conceivably we are at risk of “newspaper chaos” where newspapers are printed and distributed with reckless abandon, threatening to dismantle the very fabric of society in the process. yet, remarkably, society somehow manages to function.if the taxi market was de-regulated we’d have lower prices and more choice/innovation. i think there are stronger arguments for government control over network goods like public utilities.

          30. PhilipSugar

            When you are serving the public regulation can make sense. You have to have a meter, the meter price is set, you have a number so I can make a complaint, you have to have a license, that can be revoked, etc.Want to know what its like without it?? I’ll tell you. You get in a “cab” you have to negotiate the price, you find out the driver is drunk because he drinks while he drives, you get to your destination, and the price has changed, your luggage is in the trunk, and he won’t open it unless you pay him his extortion money, you can go talk to the wall about your experience because it will care as much as anyone else.

          31. kidmercury

            the scenario you described only occurs because the foundation for a free market is not present. the foundation for a free market is a stable money supply and a population with savings. otherwise, the market can handle all other regulatory elements. everyone is serving the public — newspapers too, to use my previous example.

          32. PhilipSugar

            We’re going to have to disagree. There are certain things where regulations work because they protect the public. That’s where I find some of the hot startup ideas wrong. Yes they work when the only people that use your service are people that read Techcrunch and live in NYC or SF, but when you go mainstream they will fail. That’s where people put out arguments that government is just protecting the incumbents when the fact is they are protecting the public.

          33. Jim Ritchie

            On big difference, driving on public roads.

          34. kidmercury

            so? newspapers are delivered via public roads and sidewalks. shouldn’t newspapers be regulated, so as to prevent flooding of the streets with a bunch of newspapers that are all scam artists?

          35. Jim Ritchie

            I’m usually with you, in this case “reductio ad absurdum”

          36. PhilipSugar

            Can you kill or injure somebody publishing a newspaper? 18k taxi crashes in NYC in 1999 resulting in 30 deaths: http://www.schallerconsult…. even though their rates per 100,000 miles driven were much less than average, said due to training and mandatory drug testing.

          37. ShanaC

            how was it chaos

          38. PhilipSugar

            See two posts below.

          39. ShanaC

            so that serial killers don’t get the ability to answer hails?Actually, beyond that reason, I don’t know. it is a local monopoly and causing problems.

          40. andrewe

            “The functionality of and e-hail does not warrant a surcharge.” A surcharge to whom? As a Hailo customer in Toronto I don’t pay a surcharge — ever.

          41. ErikSchwartz

            It’s a PITA to police. Lets say you and I are standing in the rain you hail a cab with an app. I stick my arm up in the air. A cab pulls up in front of us. I get in. But it turns out it was your cab and I get charged a surcharge.Basically you are creating tiered pricing (which the TLC will need to enforce). So presumably that’s why they are against this.

          42. markslater

            no bueno

          43. kidmercury

            i guess… me these are all just normal issues the market can sort out. i.e. the cabbie is going to know when he/she is e-hailed, and could easily require the incoming passenger to verify by showing hteir smartphone.

          44. JamesHRH

            Doesn’t the e-hailed cab pullup with the light out?

          45. ErikSchwartz

            So the meter goes on when you call it?

          46. markslater

            nope it does not – but the distance the driver drives to get you with the meter off is called “inefficiency” if you believe what was written in the original post.

          47. ErikSchwartz

            So the The light can be turned off without the meter being turned on? So now unethical cabbies can take off meter fares without getting caught.

          48. markslater

            thats a good one – never thought of that.

          49. Jay Bregman

            That’s the way it is currently in NYC and London but NYC is changing its rooflight system to be integrated into TPEP (the card swipe + GPS / data system) so that the cabbie has to log out of TPEP to turn their light off. Without the meter engaged cabbies can’t take credit cards and this is universal in NYC – but also customers can see this easily and the regulator details are posted clearly in every cab along with the cabbie’s license and cab registration / medallion details.

          50. Jay Bregman

            You’re exactly right and that’s why our goal is to reduce this time as much as possible to the benefit of both parties.

          51. andrewe

            With Hailo, the meter goes on when I get in the cab, and is turned off when I get to my destination. I am only charge the meter fare, and I tip exactly what I want.

          52. Jay Bregman

            The cabbie turns off their light when they accept the e-hail. They then proceed to the customer and the customer can see their real-time location. This is in keeping with the TLC draft regs and our operating process across our 20k+ registered drivers. It works pretty well, especially as we try and oversupply the market with cabs so at scale you get what we have in London – two minutes from tap to taxi. That means there is only a few blocks where the cabbie has their light out.

          53. ShanaC

            that’s happened in NYC before though. there was a month long period where not all the cabs changed their fairs. Didn’t change hailing behavior at all

          54. Jay Bregman

            We don’t charge for traditional street hails – if you stick your arm up you pay the meter + tip as set by the local regulators whether the cabbie happens to be a member of Hailo, another app, or none.

          55. jason wright

            can’t see charging directly for the app being a viable model. gotta be in the game to make the score.

          56. kidmercury

            i think you absolutely could charge for the app, especially if you add some other functionality that makes it easy to make certain requests (i.e. you are a pet, you are in a neighborhood with low cab presence, you are in part of a large group, moving an object, etc). there are apps that make joke sounds that sell.

          57. jason wright

            it’s just my gut feeling. testing the market will produce the answer.i have the sense that in a geo market with competing services and apps it’s tough to gain market penetration by charging for the app. i could be wrong. time will tell.

          58. markslater

            sure – metering is the core of the arguement here – and its a legitimate one. Each local jurisdiction needs to ensure a safe and fullproof and consistent across the board, method for metering – thus the existing meters you see today that are attached to medallions and audited frequently. i believe they function as a device attached to the order for these guys to make business – they have to add a surcharge to the normal metered charge. or take a piece from the driver out of the normal metered charge – thats NOT going to happen – cabbies hate the 5% tax from the processor anyway. So unless they want to go GPS for the metering – which will definitely get them in trouble – they are forced to surcharge – net net – you use marginal functionality and convenience and pay more. thats not consumer friendly when the functionality is commoditized.

          59. kidmercury

            but you are assuming the only model for the e-hailing companies is a percentage of the fee. there are other models, such as:1. charge customers for the app2. ads3. free in exchange for data mining rightsplus, some cabbies may want to pay (as the trade off could help them run their business more efficiently and thus generate greater revenue for them), and no one will force a cabbie to use it. so why not let the market sort it out?

          60. markslater

            1. wont work. 2. nah. 3. hmmm – our model is to replace the phone call (in this instance no more calling dispatch) – we solve the businesses problem elsewhere so we can offer this for free to anyone to perpetuity. think about what the app replaces. It replaces a phone call – which is free basically. So why create a business where there was not one of any real measure in the first place – the functionality does not warrant.

          61. kidmercury

            okay, let’s say it doesn’t work. let’s say your model is the only one that does. why not prove it through the marketplace rather than have government force it? i don’t see the need for government involvement here.

          62. markslater

            i absolutely agree. I wanted to make sure that this community does not simply get blindsided by one part of the new market.and i hate the dis-engenuous – “we are doing it for the good of all crap” – its simply not true – if thats the case – tell people why your current model is a net net + in terms of cost to the consumer.

          63. PhilipSugar

            I hate disingenuous as well. But I don’t think he was. Sure there was marketing speak, but of course there would be. He’s simply saying we solve the “line of sight” issue and he charges. That works for me. Is there value? Net, net I’d say yes, its worth a buck to get a cab instead of hailing one.He’s not saying, let me figure out a way to get gypsy cabs the ability to get fares which hurts those that play by rules and have a different cost structure. Those are the schemes that are disingenuous, and there are a bunch out there, those I have a problem with.

          64. kidmercury


        2. James Ferguson @kWIQly

          The time and waste gain more than pays for a viable revenue model. – A full taxi is a paying taxi

          1. markslater

            its not as simple as that – in theory yes. The practical landscape differs. Cabs are not as empty as this article states. the supply is there – it goes up and it goes down.

          2. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            Mine was only a theoretical take, but I would think and efficiency must serve all parties – the competition is opportunity cost of time less fuel saved (but then maybe some people want to stand hailing taxis while they drive by ? :)))

          3. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Film-makers are going to be furious.Imagine all those cab-related vignettes of benign serendipity and malevolent chances of circumstance, gone, forever. Such is the relentless march of progress.Arthur C Clarke and Carl Sagan would be proud of us…And what of comedians?Customer: “Bartender, call my wife a cab!”Bartender: “Sir, your wife is a cab!”See, the implications are enormous. A butterfly flaps its wings…

          4. Jay Bregman

            According to statements by the TLC at the public hearing on 29 November NYC Yellow Taxis spend more than 40% of their time cruising empty. This is an average taken directly from the meter on / off events recorded by the existing in cab systems (TPEP). Other cities like Dublin and London are even higher – the average across major cities is 30-60% downtime across a shift.

          5. markslater

            so the bogey here is that the meter cannot and will never be on 100% of the time. How about getting to and from home or from the garage? how about when the meter is off while heading to a customer? how about the 10% of the time (i am guessing the number) that the driver is looking for lunch or some other personal activity?its misleading to suggest that the inefficiency is 60%. Its not.

          6. Jay Bregman

            This is data from the TLC – and it does not include time where the cabbie is off duty (unavailable for work) as that is indicated when they log on and off TPEP. I would encourage you to check it by asking cabbies – part of our model is we have about three driver partners in each city who are key managers in the local operation. Going to and from home is a great example of where Hailo can help passenger and cabbie – with a large enough network the cabbie can pick up a passenger out of the central business district and take them into the city, filling up their back seat when they otherwise would have been empty, etc.

        3. Jay Bregman

          We simply provide more transportation options for passengers – if people don’t think we provide sufficient value to cover the cost they may take the subway, bus, or traditional street hail (among many others). We are all about creating more options for consumers and ultimately the market will decide the winners, etc.

          1. markslater

            Jay – how does making a ride more expensive provide the consumer with any value? yes you offer more choice, but you are charging more. you are right – the market will decide. Why should you charge more?

          2. Aaron Klein

            Because you can press a button and it arrives.Have you ever tried to hail a cab in NYC? I have a 50% success rate.

          3. ErikSchwartz

            Unless it is raining or a shift change I find it simple to hail a cab in NYC. If it is raining demand is high, if it’s a shift change supply is low, and I am not sure an app will meaningfully change fix either of those problems.

          4. Aaron Klein

            My experience has been the opposite. Last trip, I finally gave up and paid the premium for an Uber because I simply couldn’t get a cab. Can’t wait for this and I’ll be a regular user when in NYC.

          5. kidmercury

            me too. nyc has changed since the onset of great depression 2.0. it has gotten more dense in terms of population which has led to some transportation challenges such as cab shortages.

          6. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Trouble is, politicians and bankers have become more dense, also…

          7. Jay Bregman

            You’re right that we work with the existing supply network – but we try to always oversupply the market with cabs as the cabbies get a suite of tools which help them make their day more sociable and shifts more profitable independent of connecting them directly with customers. It seems like e-hail is a solution to an availability problem. That might be partially true – but once you experience two taps and two minutes to taxi while you’re finishing your coffee and walk outside into your cab, then jump out at the end without swiping or waiting for a receipt (you get one emailed by the time you hit the sidewalk) – most people find Hailo is really about making life and the taxi experience easier. We take the existing infrastructure and make it more efficient for drivers and more accessible for passengers.

          8. markslater

            i agree! but it does not need to be more expensive. We are doing this in boston for no cost to either participant.

          9. Jay Bregman

            It’s about certainty and convenience. Essentially we solve the line of sight problem allowing you to hail the cab around the corner. Women at night might want to hail from inside, or come winter, anyone in NYC. The alternative is to take your chances on the street – and that option will still be available to you. If the price doesn’t compensate for the service and value, passengers are free to use other apps, traditional street hail, or public transportation. All Hailo and other e-hail apps do is create options.

          10. Aaron Klein

            Exactly. I’m 100% in your corner on this.

          11. andrewe

            I use Hailo a couple of times each week, and I can tell you with certainty that Hailo cab drivers do not charge more. I tip exactly what I want with Hailo and the driver charges the exact same meter fare that I would have otherwise paid — if I had called for a cab and waited 10 minutes for it to arrive.

          12. markslater

            then you got in a cab where hailo is charging the cabbie.

          13. andrewe

            Perhaps you’re right, but in speaking with Hailo cabbies every time—who willingly signed up for the service—they seem to be very happy with Hailo, the fares that they would have otherwise not had, and how quickly and easily they can bill my credit card.Maybe Toronto’s taxi market is very different than NYC’s—but Hailo has been a fantastic addition to it here.

          14. markslater

            dont doubt it. but its a point solution which means its business is predicated on charging either the cabbie or the consumer.

          15. Jay Bregman

            Thanks very much for the kind words – I’ve forwarded to our Toronto team! We recognize every market is different and so the charges vary (like the price of a Starbucks or most other things) but the general business model is to take a fair matchmaking fee which still leaves both passenger and driver better off than they were before.

          16. ShanaC

            i would use a guarantee hailing attached to a credit car. Sometimes you need to escape creepy guys. I’ve been on the NYC subway at 3am. Not where I want to be

    3. William Mougayar

      Good questions, but I suspect though that not all cabs would sign-up, so there’ll always be a share of them that you can hail or call for. At least, that was my experience in London, where we hailed, called and e-hailed.

      1. Jay Bregman

        Hailo cabs in London do a very small percentage of their daily take through Hailo – and these e-hails are delivered during downtime so it’s time they would have spent empty anyway…

        1. William Mougayar

          That’s a good insight & confirms the added value of the e-hailing. Thx

    4. John Revay

      YUP – I was looking for the counter as well – there was a little of the counter argument discussed in Jay’s testimony before the TLC – not sure if you scanned that link

      1. takingpitches


    5. John Revay

      Seems to be also a turf war b/t the black car fleet…

      1. takingpitches

        Thanks John — (and the Falun Gong does some decent reporting!)

    6. Anne Libby

      What about people who don’t have smartphones (yet)? What kind of personal information do users have to give up to use these apps?

    7. Jay Bregman

      Sorry for the delayed reply – very busy day! Really appreciate your support. I would highly recommend everyone read TLC Chair David Yassky’s Op-Ed in the NY Daily News…Now, to the points:1) No it will not affect street hail service. E-Hails are largely incremental business which fill downtime when drivers would otherwise have been cruising empty. For evidence, look to London which is a maturing E-Hail marketplace. Here’s what John Mason, head of the Public Carriage Office (like the TLC for London) said on the topic in written testimony on this topic:”It is important to note that despite the rapid uptake of apps by drivers and passengers – nearly 50% of drivers and hundreds of thousands of passengers – street hail service has been unaffected by the introduction of apps in London. There have been no complaints from passengers about reduced ability to hail a cab in the traditional manner.” From…The reason street hail service was affected when there were radios in Yellow Cabs was not because of the method of calling the cab but rather the perverse incentives drivers had to take radio calls – which were mainly corporate customers paying up to $20 in adjusted dollars *extra* per ride (10% of their daily income). No surprise many drivers hovered around the financial district with their light off. See a fuller discussion in my testimony:…2) E-Hails go a long way towards eliminating refusals – not adding to them. That’s because drivers never see the destination or any details about the passenger when they accept the e-hail. If drivers show up and leave once they hear your destination we have a record of the broken trip. This transparency helps ensure quality – and it is the same transparency that explains why Hailo is so popular amongst the disabled community in London – the driver does not know whether they are disabled any more than the color of their skin or their destination. See testimony given by Toby Mildon – disabled user of Hailo in London…3) AirportsThe Port Authority sets the rules at airports and they currently do not allow pickups except at taxi stands – so the TLC has written this into the rules (which also covers Grand Central etc). Hailo automatically detects if you try to hailo when at an airport or restricted area and points you to the nearest taxi stand. In other cities like London, Dublin, etc we do allow E-hailing at airports. We respect the local rules and culture on issues like this.4) SafetyParamount concern from day one – we are in this to help. For that reason we have given free chargers and cradles to drivers and will do this in NYC as well. The driver app is engineered to allow “one tap” interaction which is just as safe as hitting the AC or radio or meter. The London experience (and global network) is that we have a zero-incident record and across all e-hail providers London has yet to see a single incident caused by the use of smart devices in this manner. This is exactly the same standard “one tap” that the TLC itself agreed on the recent street hail livery rules (see my testimony for more details).5) PricingWe’re a mass market service – we charge differently based on local market conditions (e.g. how cheap or expensive taxi service is). We either charge the driver or customer – in the US we charge a small fixed premium (e.g. $1.00) as a “Hailo Fee” or e-hailing fee to get the cab to you. We believe this is well worth it for the benefit E-hailing provides – but passengers always have options to hail in the traditional manner, etc.

      1. markslater

        why not make it free to the consumer?

        1. Jay Bregman

          We do in cities where cab fares are higher e.g. London, Dublin, Toronto. Ultimately we take an inefficient and inaccessible market and create a marketplace that increases efficiency and accessibility and we take a small fee for this like any other marketplace – which still leaves both passenger and driver better off.

        2. Aaron Klein

          I don’t really get your string of comments here.Why don’t you work your ass off for free for the benefit of consumers?

          1. PhilipSugar

            I agree. I actually like charging the consumer. I prefer it to some other method. Is there value in me pushing a button to get a cab? Sure, ok I’ll pay. What I don’t like is where there is some other way to “monetize” me, where you are hoping that I’m not smart/care enough to figure it out.

          2. Aaron Klein

            +1. There’s nothing more transparent than a small fee.

          3. PhilipSugar

            You know me, I’m the closed book school of management, its fine to say none of your business, but I don’t like deception.For instance supposedly uber was putting a surcharge on and calling it a “tip” apparently half the tip went to uber:…I have a problem with that, or if you make it a two tiered system like the the radio calls, where it makes it hard for the average person to get a cab.I really find it repulsive that doorman usually charge the cab a fee to get the airport rides. But if you want to use technology to make it easier for the cab around the block to pick me up and charge me….fine.

          4. LE

            “Is there value in me pushing a button to get a cab? Sure, ok I’ll pay.”The problem is that there is this dance between what some people will pay for and what a group of people will pay for. I might be perfectly willing to pay a premium to secure a table in a restaurant during peak hours. But any system will have to take into account the way the group perceives that and has a problem with that behavior. (And this includes people who would have the $$ to spend as well as those who don’t). There are many situations (once again grandfathered) that allow people to spend more money and have a better outcome (rooms in hotels, ships, tip to the maitre d to get a better table) etc.

          5. PhilipSugar

            That would be called capitalism

          6. Dale Allyn

            I’m in this camp as well. Also agree with @philipsugar:disqus ‘s comment about preferring a direct fee to some other way to “monetize” me. A transparent and reasonable fee structure allows me to choose.

          7. kidmercury

            lol why isn’t everythign free? why not free food, free housing, free money, free gold bars! hooray!!! 🙂

          8. Aaron Klein

            So true! Maybe the government should try to organize something like this. It sounds like it would be a pretty swell community, so why don’t we call it communism?

          9. LE

            “free gold bars!”Yes.! Oversupply! That would totally kill the golden goose! Next, Debeers gives away diamonds for free and turns up production in the diamond mines.Free food! Yes! More obesity.(Almost) Free housing! Yes! We have that it’s called section 8.

          10. ShanaC

            actually, debeers could do that?

          11. LE

            “Why don’t you work your ass off”In any business situation there needs to be an economic component. Businesses that don’t money go out of business. Take away a part of a business that makes money (what the banks did when they were restricted in what they could charge) and they just figure out a way to make the money by another method. Makes sense and I fully support that.I fear (and this is not directed at Mark Slater btw) that an entire generation is being raised without understanding that things can’t be free and things can’t be all charity and for the good of others. And helping and somehow somebody else will have your back. They won’t.I know you do much with community and charity and helping. But I suspect you do this because you are in a financial position to be able to do that and still pay for healthcare, food, housing, your future, children etc. Not just because you see it as the right thing to do.Free is a privledge. Not a right. (Wow, what a money shot that is!)

          12. Aaron Klein

            Indeed. Very well put.

          13. ShanaC

            aaron? guys? please?

          14. Aaron Klein

            I’m just trying to understand his point of view. He’s attacking what sounds like a great app for daring to charge a fee for a valuable service. I don’t get it.

          15. PhilipSugar

            I’m with Aaron on this one, Jay has a very cogent well laid out plan that took a ton of effort to execute. He was asked why it wasn’t free and he said you have the freedom of choice to use it or not and that they thought out how to eliminate discrimination/cream skimming. He then gets dogged more than a dozen times about the issue. Why are you asking Aaron?? Somebody will pay you can’t do it for totally free. I like transparency, a buck seems mighty fair.

          16. ShanaC

            Philip Sugar , Aaron Klein , LE markslater and anyone else in this conversation:I hate the tone of the conversation. I came much too late to the conversation about ehailing, but still, it seemed to me that the tone got wildly out of hand as a just text lacking nuaced tones of voice pushed some buttons.It happens. On top of that, the community is scaling up, and I get the feeling we know less of each other around here, so it makes it easier to be less polite.And while I can’t force behavior to change and for all of us to be gung ho happy best friends with each other all the time, I can at least try to make it easier for newcomers who only will see this conversation and this text and make it clear that in reality we’re not going to bite each other’s heads off.

      2. PhilipSugar

        Good comment. I am usually the negative one on things that get around regulation, but that is not what this is doing. If the customer wants to pay that seems like a reasonable choice. I think I would. I agree, let the market decide.I would have an issue if this allowed random drivers to pickup fares, but again that is not what this is. As bad as the TLC is (and I’m sure it is truly awful) the basis behind its existence is sound: you don’t want random, completely uncontrolled people and cars picking up fares.

        1. ShanaC

          why don’t you want random?

          1. PhilipSugar

            See my comments of using that this week below. Random means not licensed by TLC.

      3. thinkdisruptive

        Curious how you match the driver to the hailer. In a busy city like NYC, especially in the rain, there are often dozens of people waving their arms frantically trying to get a cab in a short space. How do you know which person requested the cab and ensure first requested, first served? Conversely, if another cabbie picks them up before the requested one gets there, are they still charged the Hailo fee? And in that case, what happens to the cabbie who drove to the location, but the fare is gone?

        1. Jay Bregman

          When a customer requests an e-hail our systems match the “best” driver (way too complex to explain here) and once a driver accepts the e-hail with a tap, the customer sees the driver first name and last initial, photo, medallion number (visible on the rooflight and the license plate) so the passenger knows which cab to get into, and both sides have the ability to tap to call with phone numbers obfuscated. The driver sees the customer username (may not be their real name – it’s up to the customer – they just need to know it as the driver will confirm to make sure they pick up the right person) and pickup location with the ability to navigate to the address. All these matches occur in real-time so a driver may only be matched to one passenger and vice versa. We have processes that deal with when the customer doesn’t show up, etc which work very well even at five figure scale.

          1. JLM

            .Damn good answer. Well played!.

      4. takingpitches

        Jay, thanks for the response and being engaged in these comments. I especially appreciate the links which I will get to later today.My quick reaction for now is I love the fact that the driver does not see the destination/passenger.Does the current TLC proposal allow you to add the fee to your service?

        1. Jay Bregman

          The TLC – to their credit – has been very explicit that they do not want to get in the business of price regulation for an optional service / additional choice for the customer. Their view appears to be to let the market decide which we believe is the right approach – and has worked very well in London.

  10. Patricia Smith

    I raised guiding eye dogs for the blind for several years and getting a taxi was always a hit or miss affair. It would be nice to know a cab would pick you up.

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      They can’t refuse the ride over here, Patricia.Apropos, my wife lectures in ethology/etc and took her students to the main centre for guide dog training in the UK, just a few days ago – sounded incredible. Wish I could have gone. Incredible work.

    2. Tom Labus

      That’s not right at all.

    3. Anne Libby

      Older people, too. And people of color…sigh.

    4. William Mougayar

      There are some drivers that have something against pets. Once we had our 18 lbs little dog inside his carry-on and the driver had a hissy fit about it. Maybe a culture thing. I’m not sure if there are regulations about that. When you travel, you have to advise the airline and they have to approve it even if you take your pet inside the cabin. I think there’s a maximum of 2 allowed per flight.

      1. thinkdisruptive

        I wouldn’t accept animals in my car. Besides having to deal with severe allergies, many pets are destructive, and their owners oblivious (or they don’t think it’s a big deal). This is a personal issue, and not something that you have the right to judge others for disagreeing. Consider it lucky that some do allow pets, and reserve a car with someone who doesn’t mind. I think Patricia’s original comment that it would be nice to know who is willing to pick you up is valid, and something an app can make trivial.

        1. Patricia Smith

          Why would the app trivialize?FYI, Guide dogs should be protected under disability laws and allowed into taxis but a lot of drivers have personal/religious reasons for not wanting them. So an app would be great – and I always tip extra just as a way to thank drivers and encourage them to keep picking up dogs wearing their harnesses or service coats. So paying extra for an e-hailing service seems a reasonable price for assurance of a ride.

          1. thinkdisruptive

            Sorry, thought it was clear. An app would make it trivial to match people with a need to transport an animal with a driver willing to do it.Suggesting that the law should be used to force anyone to allow an animal in their car is an abuse of the legal system — disability notwithstanding. We have competing disabilities, and my ability to breathe is just as important as your ability to navigate. I also have personal property rights regarding my vehicle.I have no objection to saying that companies must provide the ability to support this, but I have a very strong objection to forcing individuals to accept it.What I find particularly bizarre is that you would accept “religious” grounds, but not health grounds for denying pets in a car.

          2. Patricia Smith

            I’m a realist looking for solutions. I don’t fight cab drivers to take me and have to respect their reasons for saying no- whatever they are. So yay! everyone’s happy with an app that delivers.I’m sure the lawyers could have a field day determining who’s interests are being impinged on – the blind person or the cab company serving the market and paying a lot in licensing for the privilege.

          3. thinkdisruptive

            Yes, I agree. My point is that an app improves the current scenario, because it solves the problem of matching without forcing one person’s needs to supercede another’s.The cab company has to serve the market by whatever rules are imposed, but they also have to respect the health disabilities of their drivers (and wouldn’t be permitted to deny employment on the basis of allergies to animals). So, if technology enables us to negotiate that minefield, so much the better.I can pretty much guarantee you that the only winners in a legal fight would be the lawyers.

          4. Patricia Smith

            Jay Bregman, are you reading the passion here?

          5. LE

            I can totally see those teeth gnawing on a bone in satisfaction.

          6. Jay Bregman

            You got it – we have thought about this – rules vary by city but I do hear what you’re saying and watch this space 🙂

          7. thinkdisruptive

            That’s one happy-looking dog.

        2. William Mougayar

          As a pet lover and owner, I take offense at that comment.In parts of Europe, dogs are even allowed in fancy restaurants under the table.If you have an allergy, that doesn’t mean the whole world has to comply with it. You take your own precautions.When you book a flight, do you ask if there are pets on-board?

          1. thinkdisruptive

            Yes William, I’ve been to some of those restaurants in France, and as someone with severe allergies, I find that disgusting. It’s also not very clean, and I really hate having to sidestep the dog feces on the steps to the subway. I find it offensive that you would prioritize your personal desire to have a pet with you over my health.Your statement is crazy on the face of it. I have to “comply” with your wish to bring your dog everywhere, but you don’t have to “comply” with my health needs? These are tremendously screwed up priorities. There is a limit to what “precautions” I can take when you bring your dog into my personal space (none, in fact), which is why it would never be allowed in my car.Unfortunately, I don’t have control of pets on board a plane, and I haven’t found it pleasant when I’ve had to be near one. I do always request to be seated as far from one as possible. And, I should think that you would prefer that to me on the floor choking and wheezing with an asthma attack.I appreciate that you love your pets — good for you. But in my space, my health comes first. No negotiating.

          2. William Mougayar

            We’re going to disagree on this.There are lots of pet lovers out there, and we’re not out to purposely harm anyone that gets offended by them for any reason.

          3. Carl Rahn Griffith

            I’ve got a bigger problem with some people in society than I do pets.

          4. William Mougayar

            Me too 🙂

          5. thinkdisruptive

            You can love your pets, but you don’t have absolute rights. When I’m lying dead on the ground because my bronchial passages have seized up, it doesn’t matter whether you purposefully set out to harm me, but it does matter that you knew it was a problem and chose to ignore it for your own emotional needs. This is not about getting offended. There are many many people who simply can’t be that close to animals.

          6. William Mougayar

            Some pets are hypo-allergenic. Curious how do you walk in NY? There are pets everywhere. You curse at every owner and avoid them by several feet? I think that “many” is an overstatement, with all respects to those are in that minority- maybe 15% at the most.Animals and pets are a very integral part of our lives and you don’t have to see the problem as being with their owners. If you have an allergy, you will take precautions, but it’s not realistic to impose your restrictions on the 85% who don’t have an issue with it.I have friends that are allergic to pets, but they don’t hate my dog and don’t hate every pet owner. Respect goes both ways.

          7. thinkdisruptive

            I’ve heard that rumor about hypo-allergenic dogs, but alas for my family who would love to have one, I am allergic to all dogs. What that really means is that they have a lot less dander and shed less hair than other dogs — it doesn’t mean they produce zero allergens. Works for some people, but not all.By your comments, it’s clear that you don’t have allergies and don’t understand what it means to live with them. The great thing about being outside is that there is a lot of air to disperse the bad stuff. But here’s a news alert — dogs don’t just exist in NYC. I have to deal with them everywhere.I did not curse at anyone. Nor did I use the word “hate” with respect to your dog or to you. I do hate dog feces that were left behind by inconsiderate owners — I think most pet owners would agree with me on that. I also did not impose any restrictions on you. On the contrary, it is you who wishes to force your obsession on me. A little mutual respect is all that’s required for us to coexist.Not sure where your extreme emotional and defensive reaction is coming from. I avoid other people’s pets as best I can, and as a sensible precaution, it does mean that I don’t often visit friends who prioritize pets over people. You’re entitled to enjoy your pets. You aren’t entitled to enjoy them in an enclosed space that belongs to me.

          8. kidmercury

            i hear ya man. it kinda weirds me out when people show more respect to non-human animals than humans. my favorite is how the vast majority of those people eat meat that comes from an environment where the animal is treated in remarkably inhumane ways……but whatever, there is no room for logic in the conversation.

          9. LE

            “Curious how do you walk in NY?”It’s a parts per million issue of course. More allergen if in a small confined space then on a city street.Also, I am allergic to cats but for some reason the one that my wife has (from before we met) does not bother me that much. Nothing special about the cat either. My ex wife bought a supposedly hypo allergenic short haired cat but that did bother me.

          10. kidmercury

            siding with thinkdisruptive in this beef. pet lovers have their rights, but those that don’t like pets and those that want to run their establishment in a way that caters to other audiences have that right too.

          11. awaldstein

            Restaurants are one thing. There are choices.Transportation is another and bridges touches on public service. In NYC we don’t have cars. Our pets need to go to the vet. How do we get there?I’m not disagreeing and Sam (my cat) is on my desk, but some things, like this, need to be addressed beyond preference as there are no options.

          12. LE

            “siding with thinkdisruptive in this beef.”What’s really funny about this beef is that this discussion has crossed the rubicon of what I would call “starbucks” relationships which I’ve spoken about before.That’s where you meet a group of people at Starbucks who are regulars (or tradeshows or any venue) and you have light casual interactions. They seem like really nice reasonable people because a) they could be or b) you have nothing to disagree over and most importantly c) they don’t make any demands of you. I suspect this is the same way that cheating and office romances happen. You meet someone and there is nothing to fight over (they aren’t telling you you have to mow the law or visit their grandmother) so you don’t fight. They seem nice and perfect. Then the minute you start to delve into additional issues you find things to disagree over and all the sudden perfect relationships are not.

          13. William Mougayar

            TD & I have had previous disagreements before, and he seems willing to pick a fight, whereas I don’t normally do that unless provoked. I don’t intend on marrying him nor having an affair with him, but I will not get dragged into endless arguments. Hasta la vista to him.

          14. LE

            I had said elsewhere: “I”m surprised by the reaction (and intensity) of both William and Arnold.”You: “TD & I have had previous disagreements before, and he seems willing to pick a fight”Like I sometimes say, if a situation doesn’t make sense (my “surprise”), there is probably some history about it that I don’t know.

          15. William Mougayar

            The history part just dawned on me later as I connected the dots & recalled previous interactions. It wasn’t intended nor planned from the beginning of today’s interaction. As for the other part, I will defend pets anytime. They don’t hold grudges against people that are allergic to them, and if they could apologize for it, I’m sure they would.

          16. thinkdisruptive

            Part of the issue is heart over head. I get that people have very strong bonds to their pets — often stronger than to their families. I do find it odd that intellectual disagreements spill over into unrelated areas, almost like grudges. I’m neither scared of, nor inclined to pick a fight — I didn’t view it as a fight, frankly, although I’ve never seen a fight that one person could pick on their own. Just making William, Patricia and others aware that it isn’t as black-and-white as painted — there are rights on both sides.I think the real insight is that there are and will be extremely strong feelings when personal rights clash, and that the randomness of hailing a cab the traditional way has often resulted in oil and water matches, whereas an app like Hailo could prevent any such issues entirely, making the experience not only more efficient, but more pleasant. Cabs are a peculiar middle ground where a small personal space is also a source of public service — there are others, but not many. It’s why you can be so passionate about the amazing conversation you had with a driver, and so angry when they take a wrong turn that costs you 10 minutes, or light up a cigarette despite the laws.Perhaps, for example, we could go back to allowing some cabs to be “smoking cabs”. I’d never get in one, but I don’t begrudge smokers indulging if both driver and passengers agree it’s OK. Hailo could sort that out. Or, indicate which cabs are sufficiently spacious for people over 6’5″, or who have a ton of luggage to get to the airport. Or perhaps you need/prefer a driver who speaks a foreign language. The better attributes are matched to needs (mass customization), the better off we all are. In the spirit of @kidmercury:disqus we could replace burdensome regulation with market choices. That feels very agreeable.

          17. ShanaC

            GUYS! this seems like such an argumentive day, and I was out.I feel like I need to write a PSA about being nice.

          18. thinkdisruptive

            Ummm, affair + marriage? Is this the passionate make-up sex part? I think I’d prefer to just shake hands.

          19. awaldstein

            There are norms and mid points and there are corner cases.You build the former as guidelines for the masses and try to respect the needs of those exceptions.The fact that pets are becoming a strata of our society is nothing but goodness. The fact that kill shelters are now considered by the mainstream as inhumane is as it should be. The fact that people can be sued and jailed for mistreating animals is an evolutionary step forward.Let’s not argue this as it will go nowhere and the winner has already been decided by society.You have the misfortune to have health issues that are problematic and exacerbated by animals it appears. You have a right to request and be granted information that makes life easier to navigate with ease.You can request that society changes to make your needs the norm. It won’t. You can be disdainful and ugly about this. Your right but it’s just unpleasant and antisocial.Yes…A confirmed animal lover and crusader for their rights. In this belief, I’m mainstream and proud of it.

          20. thinkdisruptive

            Hey Arnold, nothing against you, but I find it odd when people prioritize animals over other people. I have nothing against people having pets, and I think we should look out for their welfare and humane treatment. But if you think allergies are a “corner case”, then I have news for you.There are far more people with severe breathing disabilities than there are people who are blind, or confined to a wheelchair, or most other disabilities for that matter. My kids have been banned from bringing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to school because 1 kid in a thousand has peanut allergies.The point is not to argue about whether blind people should be allowed guide dogs, but rather that each of us has needs that have to be respected. I assume you wouldn’t deliberately feed sugar to a diabetic (unless they were having an insulin reaction). By the same token, you shouldn’t be willing to force someone with severe allergies and asthma to deal with your dog. Simple really.Do you find it ugly and anti-social that we have ramps for wheelchair access? Is it bad that smokers must go outside, or often enjoy their habit away from all public places? What is disdainful about being respectful of each other’s needs?

          21. awaldstein

            You are off the deep end and neither reading or listening.No one is prioritizing animals over people. The fact that you are equating this line of argument that I am prejudiced against people with handicaps is perverse.Conversation is, for me at least, over.

          22. thinkdisruptive

            Perhaps I have misinterpreted your remarks. The original context was that someone who has a pet or seeing-eye dog has an easier time finding a cab willing to take them because the app matches buyer and seller. People have jumped all over the idea that the driver with allergies has rights too, and in that context, your comment seems to defend that that pet-lovers have rights that the driver/property owner doesn’t. If that isn’t your point, then I don’t understand what you’re trying to say.I think it rude to suggest that I’m “off the deep end” for asserting a basic human right. I’m reading and listening, but I’m either not understanding, or not seeing the same courtesy from those who disagree. I’m hoping it is a misunderstanding — severe allergies are just as much a handicap as any other kind.

          23. LE

            FWIW, and in your defense, I understand your points and I”m surprised by the reaction (and intensity) of both William and Arnold. And I say that as someone who never misses a chance to pet a dog outside of starbucks and wishes he had a dog now and had two golden retrievers who I lost (one my parents gave away as a child and another my ex gf got to keep).I really do understand how people form attachments to their pets (and this is proof of that certainly).My guess is that both William and Arnold have experience negative experiences with their pets and as a result seem especially vehement and perhaps are overreacting to your point.

          24. William Mougayar

            Ditto for me.

          25. ShanaC

            what do you mean by pets are a strata of our society?

          26. awaldstein

            They are more than simply cherished. They have rights.

          27. ShanaC

            i question that they have rights, as in “natural born rights” hell, I even question that humans do. I think we evolved the concept of rights.

          28. awaldstein

            You and I agree on this one completely Shana.Natural born or not, we define our humanity and our culture by the rights that we upheld.I’m realistic of course but I am a huge pet lover and like the world we live in where diversity is encouraged and we create this structure of ‘rights’ that include even, Sam (my cat) sitting on my desk as i write.

          29. thinkdisruptive


          30. LE

            “If you have an allergy, that doesn’t mean the whole world has to comply with it. You take your own precautions.”Allergy = medical problem so actually yes. Look at all the peanut shit that goes around in public schools (not all of which I agree with by the way!)But I’m really surprised you would say that William. How would you expect a cab driver to deal with that? If I go to a movie theater I can have a sneezing fit afterwords from the various allergens that are present. Realistically there is nothing I can do to prevent that (people bring them in from the outside on coats and clothing they aren’t bringing pets into the theater). So it is my choice whether to go in and take my chances or not. Not anybody elses.I don’t think there is anything unreasonable about a person running a private business (and a grandfathered one, importantly, at that) to decide he doesn’t want to take a pet in his cab.There are always cases where accommodations have to be made for the greater good but even though I am a pet lover as well I have made a conscious decision to not have a dog because it would limit my mobility (hotels, travel etc.) as opposed to a cat (which you can leave in the house for a short time period..)As far as dogs in fancy restaurants that is grandfathered in Europe (if you are correct and I assume you are) and people have learned to accept that. There is a difference between something that is grandfathered behavior and something that is a totally new concept. In europe they do things differently as well with sexuality. By definition certain things are defined as being ok and people grow up and learn to accept those things.Jews grow up learning to accept the fact that they don’t celebrate Christmas and get a shit load of presents. For non-jews this is a non-starter. If they don’t get to celebrate Christmas they have a negative experience. (Big suicide period, yes?) Comparing what happens elsewhere is like a jew telling a christian to “get over it” as far as why they have to work on Christmas (and vice versa with Yom Kippur etc.)

    5. Cam MacRae

      Where I live refusing a fare because of a guide dog incurs an $1100 fine if you’re lucky, if you’re unlucky you might get to ‘splain yourself to the human rights commissioner. The way it should be.

      1. thinkdisruptive

        This is an example of overbearing regulation that an app like Hailo makes unnecessary. We can manage personal rights in the aggregate (business level), without forcing individuals that have health, religious, or other accepted conditions to do things that are harmful to them.

  11. jason wright

    drug dealers and their clients will have a fine time with this – Inhailo.

  12. John Revay

    “NewYorkCityisaleaderinthetech andtransportationworlds– andappsarethelogicalandnaturalnextstepinbringingnewinnovationstothetaxiindustryhere.”I found this quote in Melissa’s letter – I would think Mayor Mike would be a strong advocate for this type of tech being deployed across the city that never sleeps.

  13. JimHirshfield

    Seamless for Taxis.

  14. Dave Pinsen

    Had never heard of Hailo. Sounds like tough competition for Uber though. For those inclined to hail a car service with a smart phone, why not use Hailo to hail a less expensive cab?

    1. fredwilson

      To be fair Uber will most certainly offer yellow cab hails on their app in NYC if this passes

      1. Dave Pinsen

        Could you explain the point of Uber then? I don’t quite get it. Assuming you want to hail a car via a mobile app, why pay more for Uber?

        1. fredwilson

          why is Uber more expensive than Hailo?

          1. William Mougayar

            Über’s fleet is mostly town cars.

          2. fredwilson

            but now they can work with cabbies in NYC

          3. Dave Pinsen

            No, why would you use it, when it’s more expensive, and you can get the same basic features (hailing via mobile app and paying via credit card) with Hailo + an NYC taxi.

          4. fredwilson

            there are times when yellow cabs are not available and black cars are. 5-7pm on a rainy night is an example.

          5. Dave Pinsen

            So it provides additional supply during peak demand times. That makes sense from a customer perspective, but I wonder if they’ll be able to build a profitable business around that. Will be interesting to see.

  15. Tom Labus

    Good luck with the vote!!Bloomberg West had the CEO of Uber on after Sandy and they grilled him a bit about high prices during the immediate aftermath of the storm He said it was due to long gas lines. maybe.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      I don’t use Über, but I saw that segment and thought the CEO’s explanation made perfect sense: drivers had to spend hours in gas lines, and higher fees gave them an incentive to do so. Otherwise, the drivers might have done what I did after Sandy: drive sparingly until gas shortages abated.

      1. Tom Labus

        I bought it too since I had seen such incredible lines for gas in NJ.

  16. kidmercury

    we need to get to the point where people recognize the illegitimacy of these governments. that this even requires a vote instead of just being an inherent privilege already protected by laws in the land of the free is a disgrace. if you wait for the government to give you the okay you are likely in for a rather lengthy wait.

    1. William Mougayar

      A case of regulation boundaries gone too wild. Agreed.We need to regulate the regulators 🙂

    2. thinkdisruptive

      The regulations exist for a number of reasons, top among them being safety (for both driver and passenger). Over-regulation is a problem, as is regulation designed to accomplish a different goal being used as a club to keep competition out. But, if you maintain that all regulation is wrong and dismiss the reasons for the regulation, you will lose your argument. I too distrust most government action, and agree there are too many abuses of power throughout the system, but you can’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. Reforming the system makes sense, but abolishing all rules doesn’t.

      1. kidmercury

        no, i don’t maintain that all regulation is wrong. i maintain that it is false that government, consisting of a bunch ordinary people whom society believes has magical powers because of hte uniforms they wear, is the only valid source of regulation. the market can come up with its own regulatory means; yelp and foursquare are two examples. how amazon/apple govern their respective platforms is an even better example and one i think will ultimately be most relevant.i look forward to the day where i can hire amazon as my governance platform rather than new york city. i’ll take bezos over bloomberg any day of the week.

        1. thinkdisruptive

          I don’t trust Amazon (or anyone motivated purely by money and growing a monopoly) anymore than I trust NYC, although I agree with the sentiment. Benevolent dictators usually do the best job — how do we find more of those?Both Bezos (I almost typed Bozos) and Bloomberg are too self-interested. Maybe we should let San Franciscans decide what’s good for NYC and vice versa. Somewhere, we have to embed a dose of practical reality into all this idealism though.

          1. kidmercury

            new york city is the monopoly, technology platforms have to compete against others.

  17. pointsnfigures

    Government bureaucracy is the bane of innovation. Get rid of all these confounded rules and regulations, most of which were put in place to appease businesses that donated to a pols campaign, and let the innovators take over.

  18. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    Financed by NYCProduced in London.Tested in Toronto, London and Dublin.Coming to NYCGlobalization it is.

    1. kidmercury

      financed by wall street.produced by lobbyists. protected by government.globalization it is.

    2. fredwilson

      I love that part of the Hailo story too

  19. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    30% more business for the drivers?? I am not able to digest that high number..Does that mean 1/3 of the people looking for a cab take some other transport everyday? OR 30% people take the cab because of Hailo … either way the number looks too high.

    1. Tom Labus

      missed opportunity, my guess.

      1. Jay Bregman


  20. markslater

    I’ll counter.(and full disclosure – we just launched a free way to text for cabs in boston – we launched with 500 cabs 2 weeks ago – ITS FREE no surcharging or SURGE pricing and it conforms with all local rules and regulations governing metering, passenger safety and so on)So let me get this. your business is to place a toll booth on a transaction correct? it has to be as that is the only way that you make money – you take and existing charge and you surcharge it. you are trying to tell me that in return for what i would argue as incremental benefit at best (your app) that an already expensive cab now becomes even more expensive?Why does that benefit me the consumer? how does it benefit me when i pay more for a service that was not that inconvenient in the first place.And the nonsense that this does not directly benefit you because its “open to all e-hailers or anyone that wants to try” is rubbish. You are standing at the front of the line should this move in your favor – you and i both know that. Its patronizing to this audience to try and claim the “its good for all” – when its clearly very self serving for you to be visiting this forum.In boston right now – your ride is more expensive than a regular taxi – how is that good for any consumer. Your functionality most certainly does not warrant it. You are incumbered by the fact that you are a point solution and your only business model IS to surcharge.

    1. takingpitches

      Congratulations Mark on your launch!

    2. Dale Allyn

      Mark, congrats on your launch!Can you tell us how your product or service makes money, if it’s free and charges no one in the chain? Does it collect data from users? Ads within the product, based on intentions input by the user (based on your frequent comments regarding intent)? Other? Knowing this would help to evaluate the comparisons.

      1. markslater

        sure. we dont collect or sell data from users in any way. we dont run ads in any form.we facilitate a new communication paradigm with any business. we replace the phone are texting and messaging with your friends and family – why not use the same paradigm to communicate with any business – including taxis.we make money by solving the businesses problem – providing them with tools to receive and respond to customers, facilitate automation events like payments, reservations etc. Its free for the business until they want to add more employees, use smarter features, and on and on.we replace a phone call and any of the pain associated. (phone trees, hold etc)

        1. Dale Allyn

          Thanks for your reply, Mark.I get it. You essentially are providing a solution as a “freemium” model, with incentives to upgrade, to generate revenue. I like this type of business model in many cases. I also like a simple (e.g. $1/ trans) fee option as a user for certain types of transactions.I’m one who hates texting. I don’t text friends except in “emergencies” where a call is disruptive or less practical. I find it inefficient and time consuming in most cases. I work with a number of people who feel the same, but surely this is not the way that things are moving. Texting is the communication method of choice among the young (for better or worse). It’s hilarious (and sad) to watch texting conversations go back and forth for minutes which could be resolved in a 20 second call. :)For me, if your solution required that I text a company or driver, rather than tapping a “come get me” button, I’d not use it, but that’s just me. Perhaps your solution does exactly that, but uses texting (or SMS) as the process, but if I have to mash a “keyboard” on my phone to get a ride – I’m out. Texting makes sense to return a confirmation number to the client to show to the driver so the right connection is made, etc. There are lots of ways to solve the user-experience and I’m sure you’ve put a lot of effort toward doing so.I see room for multiple solutions in the space and feel choice is a good thing.I’ll add that if the product charging a $1 fee is also mining data, even generically, I’d want to know about it as a user. I might opt not to use it because I dislike such models and don’t want to contribute to them. I’d want the companies to be transparent in this.

          1. markslater

            thanks for the detailed response. I also agree – thats why we are all about choice – if you use our app, you can call or text the business – we dont mind either. you might begin texting and then enable voice if the conversation better suits talking.i am a hater of data miners personally. We actively DONT mine data, or trap it explicitly with the hope of doing so. we connect you with your business and get out of the way.As far as the cab – you simple type “come get me” currently but we are enabling the quick button as we speak.But if you are an anti-texter, then you are probably in the late adopter section of the curve!

          2. LE

            Funny. My first thought about this:”you simple type “come get me””was would be a good domain name for a service like this.So I checked and someone just registered it, today a little before you made the above comment.

          3. markslater

            ha! wasn’t us!

          4. Dale Allyn

            “But if you are an anti-texter…”Believe me, I’m no fan of phone trees either. Apps which automate repetitive tasks (as I expect yours will be) are valuable to someone like me. If my location isn’t included via GPS (which I prefer to have turned off when possible), stored pickup locations which I frequent would be valuable, so that I can simply tick them and tap a button for pickup.Good luck on your project.

          5. ShanaC

            how will you know how to optimize the product if you don’t collect data? In order to have better user experience, you have to collect at least some basic data….

          6. markslater

            we dont collect or analyse the content of the conversations. we obviously see stuff a la kiss metrics and we analyse actions within the application, but we do it on aggregate not as per mining for the purpose of selling on to advertizing is what i am referring and is something we absolutely wont do.

  21. JLM

    .In favor of any innovation in the cab space — haha, the cab “space” how full of crap am I? — and this one seems attractive.I am in awe of any man who uses the word “dystopian” in a document submitted to regulators. +100 for thatA word that most people have literally never seen, written or heard uttered. On that note of courage, I would applaud any idea emanating from such a leader.I challenge the entire AVC community to use the word “dystopian” in a normal conversation today. A beer from JLM to you for each successful application which does not create laughter or a WTF in the next 15 seconds after its utterance.Know that as a fledgling wordsmith myself, I am truly in awe of the application.Well played!.

    1. William Mougayar

      Well played back at you.AVCers experience dystopia when JLM doesn’t comment daily.

      1. JLM

        .We were looking for the adjectival descriptor, Wm, not the noun.That elusive beer is still out there and the clock is running..

        1. William Mougayar

          Well…you’re getting technical on me now. Let someone else win it. I can have a beer, scotch and wine with you anytime 🙂

          1. JLM

            .And, I’m buying.Remember our history lesson we got from the cabbie?.

          2. William Mougayar

            Yes…of course! He was from Sudan and was a very nice guy. You made him talk like you were his best friend.

          3. JLM

            .Well, at THAT moment, he WAS my best friend..

    2. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Anyone that claims something to be dystopian better have a damn good grip on what constitutes utopia…

    3. Jay Bregman

      I’m going to quit while I’m ahead – thanks to everyone for a very enjoyable conversation! Thanks JLM!

    4. ShanaC

      I did. I was talking with a comic book writer about stories for a post-apocalyptic new york and giving feedback.So now you owe me beer 🙂

      1. JLM


  22. JLM

    .I am struggling to see how this creates more ridership. Where do the additional riders come from and why? Are you stealing marketshare from elsewhere? If so, where?It is not a consumable — like coffee — wherein consumption is increased by putting a Starbucks on every corner.I am struggling also to see how this does not dilute earnings for the cabbie.There is a “green” argument that it creates a more efficient dispatch system whereby cabs are not idling as long and are not traversing as great a distance to find their next fare.I would call this the Al Gore Theory of Taxicab Dispatch, with all due respect.I am often struck that the real developer of such services should rightly be the cab companies themselves.We used to call these ideas “unique selling advantages” and they differentiated otherwise similar products from each other..

    1. William Mougayar

      It would create more fluidity in the system & more empty cabs will get filled faster & on to the next ride. It’s a capacity efficiency enabler. How many times have you tried to hail a cab in NYC then abandoned it and kept walking or did something else. Those cabs using the app I suspect will have a competitive edge vs. those that don’t.

      1. JLM

        .Damn good answer. You are absolutely right.I often find myself walking back when I cannot get a cab..

      2. LE

        JLM” Where do the additional riders come from and why?”A good point. The idea presented would be that if cabs were more available they would shift from other transportation methods and be more convenient for people. But the assumption doesn’t take into account that those other methods are a worse alternatives for society possibly. (But see below point I make.) Also that more people would be more efficient and there would be an economic benefit because they wouldn’t be spending time doing nothing (waiting for a cab). That does make sense.”How many times have you tried to hail a cab in NYC then abandoned it and kept walking or did something else.”It could be argued that on trips of a length short enough to walk people will then walk. If it’s possible for cabs to be available instantly, people would certainly walk less or take other more efficient means (buses, subways etc.)

      3. LE

        ” It’s a capacity efficiency enabler.”Queued behavior efficiency as well. For example, the fact that you have to wait in a doctors office for your appointment is bad for you but good for the doctor. It’s more efficient for him. Same with restaurants. That’s the reason many restaurants won’t take reservations it’s more efficient to have a supply of people waiting for tables. In general, since most people value time less than money this is a good tradeoff. My guess is if the restaurant tried a test and was able to give tables right away to those who pay more there wouldn’t be as many takers as, and this is important, should make sense.

    2. Jay Bregman

      I’d argue it’s like Starbucks in a few key ways. By making great coffee (and now many other treats) more accessible and consistent across the world (ie by building a big network) Starbucks probably increases the amount of times people go out to get coffee. Some people might have made it at home. Some people may have only gone to their favorite corner coffee shop because of quality concerns. Starbucks has built a great brand and product around their network and generally made great coffee more accessible on a global scale (I have been in stores from Tokyo to Torquay and have the same experience) so has been able to build a loyal base of consumers and almost certainly has increased the number of people going out for coffee.Likewise, Hailo makes cabs more accessible and enhances the overall experience for passengers so people are more likely to take cabs than were before – most of the business is incremental. And that incremental business is matched to cabbies during their slow periods.You’re probably right cab companies were best positioned to build apps like Hailo. But generally they didn’t – in a classic Innovator’s Dilemma fashion. Remember (and see link to original TPEP contract in the post) – the 2005 NYC contract to put credit card swipers and GPS etc (TPEP) actually refer to smartphone apps. The TLC put a marker down but nothing was done – until now.If cabbies weren’t happy they were getting truly incremental rides we wouldn’t have a network at all – we were co-founded by three London cabbies – Terry, Russ, and Gary – and it was through their insight we discovered that the key to creating the best passenger experience was to start by building a happy and engaged community of drivers linked together by apps they run on their personal smartphones.

      1. JLM

        .I agree with you more than you agree with yourself as it relates to the Starbux comparison. As it relates to Starbucks itself.It seems to me — he said musingly — that this is a comparison between a tasty consumable and a service.I defer to your obviously deeper thought process, vast experience and introspection as it relates to an increased demand for a more pleasant service. That certainly does seem to make sense.Ever since Central Park has been cleaned up, I am a sucker for a carriage ride. Because the experience is so much better.Good luck with your endeavor, I will be rooting for you..

    3. Dan T

      How could this create more ridership? I worked on Madison street about 3/4ths of a mile from Penn Station – where I needed to catch the Amtrak. I sometimes walked, sometimes took a cab, sometimes took the subway (not direct, involved a switch and still a lot of walking). I would have gladly paid $1 for this service if it worked well. I would have gotten very frustrated and bailed if it were a crappy free service . . if it were free and great – – awesome, but would not really matter to me.

      1. JLM

        .On the days when you took the cab, what was your motivation?Late and anxious to get somewhereBad weatherDoes the availability of the service — reliability I presume — make you want to take more cabs.Whatever you answer is the correct answer as you are the actual customer.I just muse that on those sunny days when you could walk, you would still walk.These days I find myself taking the subway or walking unless it is pouring rain..

        1. Dan T

          I never really wanted to walk . I usually had a small suitcase and a briefcase. Cab was preferred, just hard to get from that time and location…I often did the walk till I could get a cab, but in the end used subway more often than not due to predictability

  23. ForDiscussion

    I’m curious, I didn’t see mention of environmental benefits. Guessing this saves gas/reduces emmissions becasue drivers aren’t wasting as much fuel looking for fares. Is that not the case?

  24. Gregory Wright

    I never understood why the TLC didn’t allow apps to hail or schedule rides. I have used similar services in other cities and I love them. But here is the big difference, NYC is not other cities. I don’t think a service like this will get as big of a following in NYC as it does elsewhere. Yes, those in the outer boroughs will probably use it more and that is good. But if you’re in Manhattan it will still be easier to step out and hail a cab yourself. There is too much complexity and wasted time with a realtime ehail that would be added (scheduled ehails would be effective), especially in busy areas. That said, I think it should be allowed, it just won’t be the game changer some think it is.

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Most stuff on the ‘net and most apps are not game-changers, and never will be – doesn’t stop all the attendant hype, though.We’re just about the dumbest industry around, much of the time – attention-span of goldfish, awash with pseudo rock-star coders/startups, obsessed with reinventing the wheel, building a better mousetrap, and all the time slapping ourselves on the back.

  25. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    Hi Fred – I find it amazing that beyond convenience and economics a MUCH bigger play is not made of the huge positive environmental impact – Especially given you are writing post Sandy in NYCAnother major possibility is taxi shares (common around much of the world) which can hugely change economics, overheads and supplement an overloaded underesourced public system.Maybe I’m an eco-nut – but maybe there is weight in those issues!

    1. ErikSchwartz

      The cab is running the whole time whether or not there is a fare in it. I’m not sure a car at 35 MPH emits much more exhaust than a car idling on the side of the road.

      1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

        Erik – I think you may be assuming equivalence where there is none – but I not sure…If you consider the entire system made more efficient, a marginal number of taxis are not needed. These have their engines off, relative to a cab that otherwise moves in stop-start traffic – which is the least efficient cycle there is. (My assumption is that unoccupied cabs are not sitting stationary at cab ranks but are actively seeking rides – but I don’t know NY too well)Stop-start is generally worse than driving at a steady 55 mph on an open road.

        1. ErikSchwartz

          So you are suggesting this optimization will lead to fewer cabs on the road for the same level of service? That’s where the environmental savings come from?Nothing is more terrifying than a NYC taxi going 55MPH.

          1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            I love the imagery !That is the suggestion – if dwell time between fares is reduced the driver earns more in a shorter period. Negligible I guess, but at scale logically there is some benefit. Stats on typical journey vs search times would start to answer the question but in principal at least this must be so.The bigger impact is if this decreases private car use in the city because cabs are more available, carry more fares and spread overhead. So public transport viability improves. Any traffic reduction has to help and London is certainly a different city since they introduced city driving fees. Tricky metrics needed to argue the case I guess!

          2. Carl Rahn Griffith

            London is still an utter nightmare to drive in and around – and even worse when it comes to parking. We would never drive to London, nowadays. Although scorned, if the congestion-charge had not been implemented I dread to think what London would be like now. It’s strangulated as it is. It should be mandatory in every city. OK, a stealth tax in many ways but if mandatory a certain % of revenues should be directed to sustainability projects, etc.The biggest positive impact on traffic has been austerity. The irony. We now have one car. This is not unusual and is gaining momentum from necessity. Pay the heating/food bills or keep the car? No brainer issues focus the mind. I work (ha! sic) from home and manage by walking and taking the bus/train if I need to travel. Much as I have loved cars, they are ridiculous things – not just as a means of transport but as status symbols, the money we have tied-up in them, the emotive arguments for supporting the manufacturing industries because of jobs, what they do to the environment, traffic-related casualties, aggression/road-rage, etc, etc. And now we are busy selling the ‘dream’ (nightmare) to BRICS. Good luck to them.Scooters are cool, however 😉

          3. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            Find all of your points hard to disagree with.I now live in Switzerland and the UK has a lot to learn (good lend a bike schemes), better public transport and outside the cities the contrast is even bigger.

          4. LE

            “Scooters are cool, however ;-)”Important to factor in to any scooter decision – the chance to be harmed in an accident. (Same with bikes).

          5. Ellie Kesselman

            No need for such concerns if one takes the bus, train or trolley! In terms of mass*velocity based safety, they are to an auto as an auto is to a scooter. A scooter or bicycle (perhaps you meant bike as in motorcycle) works well as an optional adjunct to public transit though.

    2. Jay Bregman

      You’re right – and we should talk about this more. What Hailo and apps like us do is fill downtime – therefore increase capacity – therefore put more cabs on the street without having to put more cabs on the street. Given the size of the taxi market globally – a little efficiency boost goes a very, very long way. Great point James.

  26. Shripriya

    In Singapore, the main cab company has an app where you can book your taxi and track where it is on a map. There’s an additional fee of $2.50 for it, but it’s still totally worth it at many times.And you can do advance bookings (minimum 30 minutes ahead, max probably a day but not sure). The fee for that is $8. Still much cheaper than a car service, totally reliable and works like a charm for times like when you have to go the airport and don’t want to be stuck without a cab.It’s life changing and allows us to live here without a car (which is insanely expensive).

    1. Ellie Kesselman

      That is what we do in Phoenix, Arizona too, except with the telephone. As you said, it works really well. It is fascinating to me that the rules are exactly the same here as in Singapore! Advance booking is minimum 30 minutes ahead, maximum is 24 hours, presumably because… there are lots of reasons (I won’t go down that path, else this will devolve into a constrained optimization problem ;o) Tracking is also done, and preferred by the taxi services. It isn’t by GPS or by map. Instead the driver phones you, about 5 minutes prior to arriving. If there is an unexpected delay, they usually call too. There is no fee for advance bookings nor for status updates in transit. The cab companies encourage advance bookings, I guess because it makes their scheduling easier.Yes, it IS life changing, in that it allows one to live without a car! It isn’t expensive to have a car in Phoenix, but there are lots of reasons to not want to. We have decent public transportation, it is healthier and better not to burn fossil fuels etc. Neither Phoenix nor Singapore has a cab-using population as large as NYC (mostly Manhattan, I recall). I lived in Manhattan from 1989 – 2001, and only once had a serious problem with hailing a cab.Someone else mentioned taxi shares. That breaks down with 3 or more parties. But even two-party sharing, which IS feasible, would make a huge difference in lessening the burden on infrastructure and resources.

  27. Jeff

    As I understand it, ehailing will lead to a RFP or a bidding war by all the major apps. (I heard about the TLC meeting back when they first mentioned this: *everyone* came out to that – all the apps you know of but also others who just wanted in on the action like citibank and Goldman sachs and companies with nothing to do with cars or taxis or apps!)One or two will basically win (see the “taxitronic” machines, the not-so-diverse range of vehicle makes and models, etc). However, e-hailing *ought* to lead to the formulation of a standardized and open API that empowers:- Anyone to build a driver app to receive hails, accept hails, etc.- Anyone (not just hailo or uber or taximagic or gettaxi, etc etc,… but ALL of them) to build a hailing app that is immediately useful because, by hooking into the official TLC API, they will be able to ehail just as well as anyone else.- Maybe the API provides for a standard affiliate fee for the ride. It seems as though the passenger will be paying a premium for the ehail and the driver gets more $ with a middle-man (app) taking a bit off the top. It would help to know exactly how the fee structure is set up and who makes more money and who pays more money.What makes me nervous is (unless I’m wrong) we’re basically setting up a locked down system where one or two apps will win the bid and we’ll all be stuck with them. I realize we haven’t gotten there yet. Right now we’re just trying to get consensus around the idea of ehailing. But when the rules change, this is what will be up for grabs.I’m sure many of you have the hacker spirit where you’d want to see anyone be able to add “call a cab” functionality into an app. Maybe I’d use the API for a location app or foursquare in-app service. Maybe I’d want to add booking a cab internally with my company so we can make it super easy for employees to hail and expense. I’m sure there will be 1,000 twilio apps that would work great. Maybe I want a “dumb” app that just has one button that says “take me to JFK” and that’s it. There’s a lot that can be done here, is my point, and Hailo, while great, shouldn’t be the sole dispenser of ehailed rides.I obviously agree that ehailing rules should be updated and adopted. But the idea that only a few apps/companies will profit from this rule change seems anathema to the hacking culture I think we all subscribe to.

    1. William Mougayar

      Yikes. You’re thinking like a centralized government that wants to control things. Let the free market determine winners and innovators. Why can’t they all work together without API integration, and just by signing up? This isn’t like the credit card system they put in place in cabs.

      1. Jeff

        Ha, that wasn’t my intention. I totally agree! but pretty certain there will only be a few winners out of this. I agree the city (big bro) should not control this, but then again, the TLC *does* control and regulate the taxi industry. That’s (mostly) a good thing – for another post. In this case, we’re talking about a regulatory agency that maintains standards of service. If you’re one of the 500,000 people taking a cab ride every day, the TLC works hard on your behalf (see the passenger bill of rights in every cab. that’s an extremely positive thing).So your thinking is: TLC *enables* taxi drivers to simply use apps for ehailing (something that isn’t allowed now). Then the market will decide which apps to use?That’s not really the market deciding. But I don’t think it’s that simple since it’s not as equitable. An API or some “connector” would indeed allow the market to decide on both sides: Drivers could decide which driver app they like the best. Passengers could decide which hailing app they like the best. That’s the whole point. That’s what I would think is ideal. (It may be where we disagree?)In any case, I think we’re probably in agreement. The best next step would be for TLC to allow *any* app to be used by drivers and passengers and to get out of the way. Standards and winners will emerge from that and the free market will work. I’d love to see that.But I think a more reasonable expectation, given the TLC’s previous method of decision making, is that there will be a bidding process and TLC will select a “preferred” vendor for the ehailing service. Do you actually *know* that this is unlike the credit card systems? Or is that a conjecture that, in theory, the two implementations would be different?That’ll be a step in the right direction but a step into a brick house (or some other metaphor) where market forces can’t really do what they do best. You and I will both be upset because competitors can’t enter the market and “winners” will be preselected.NPR’s Planet money did a fantastic piece on the medallions (there are 14,000 of them, they cost $1m now) and how they came into being and how limiting supply has affected the market.

    2. ShanaC

      this seems to be a consistent problem for all public/private enterprises. Regulatory culture determines the shape of the application, not usability.

  28. Jef Cozza

    We’re very much in favor of this sort of ruling. Although Amovens doesn’t see itself so much as an e-hailing app (our main focus is on getting our members to rideshare together, whether in their own cars or in cabs) revising the regulations regarding taxi service and ridesharing will be crucial to allowing citizens to use smartphone and social networking technology to use our existing transportation options in a more efficient manner.


    Gadgeteer,.Can you define “mobile” for me? I just can’t see it. I’m beginning to think when you say mobile you just mean a device that can connect wirelessly. But, I’m so deep in tech that separating into a wireless category is a thing of the past. I can write apps that don’t need to differentiate wireless from wired. Help me to understand why you keep talking about mobile when it seems so “old news” to me.

  30. Cordila

    Fred: I love posts like this and am happy to get behind meaningful change. If you provide more specific content in the call to action it takes the work out of the equation and makes it easier to galvanize your readership and those who, like me, are willing to spread virally. An example would be:Send and email today to [email protected](Subject: Vote YES on e-hailing).Cut and paste the following content: I am one of many in support of advancing transportation through e-hailing in New York City. Today is an opportunity to improve the lives of the citizens and transportation specialists in a city that is watched by the world. Please consider my request when casting your vote and please vote YES on e-hailing.

  31. William Mougayar

    Tidbit on Toronto I found out today there are 3 e-hailing services already working:- Hailo- Beck Taxi has their own App (they are the largest company, equivalent to Yellow Cab). So it’s a good way to fend off neutral apps and keep your territory – UberSo it’s very conceivable that NYC will end-up with something similar, i.e. a combination of private and open e-hailing apps.

    1. fredwilson

      i think the market will shake out exactly like that. uber and hailo will be the global ehail apps/networks. and there will likely be a local player or two in each market.

      1. William Mougayar

        And that’s exactly what happened today. 7-0 in favor!Congratulations to all the e-hailing companies approved today in NYC: Uber, Hailo, GetTaxi and Taxi Magic.…As the song goes,”If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere.”

  32. ShanaC

    what about the fact that there aren’t enough medallions?

  33. Jay Bregman

    I would recommend everyone take a look a NYT OpEd posted by Melissa Plaut – a Hailo NYC driver partner. Excellent perspective and explains why Hailo partners with cab drivers in every city in which we operate:

    1. William Mougayar

      I read it & like it. The pros far outweigh the cons.Was just curious – why the seemingly last minute advocacy push, one day before the vote? How long have you been lobbying and rallying support & how much have you relied on online channels for doing that?

  34. Jay Bregman

    Great support from @richardbranson. Will update the post with the (hopefully positive) outcome later today.

  35. M

    Man oh! Man. What age are we living. This should have bin already so. Tsiiiie. Sad to hear this. What’s the real problem 😉

  36. Ware Sykes

    My letter to the TLC belowI’m a lifelong New Yorker of 36 years, and I used to beg my parents not to take “the shoe leather express” and instead to hail a checkered cab, so we could flip down the seats and ride in style.  My brother and sister and I would fight over who got the seats, and I usually prevailed.    They were and forever will be a symbol of NYC, and they will remain a visceral memory of my childhood.  And when checkered cabs were slowly phased out for newer, and more progressive vehicles, I was devastated, and concerned with the change that would come.  And yet, when the caprice classic design was updated with a more rounded look and feel, I remember the race among our friends to be the first to ride in the “new” taxis.  And like every great innovation, New Yorkers gravitated to the change.Now, we have an opportunity to enhance the taxi system again, and perhaps more monumentally than ever.  I encourage you to support Hailo for e-hailing in NYC, as it would benefit all parties involved, while re-affirming New York’s commitment to technology innovation.  Oh, and it would spur indelible memories in New Yorkers lives for many years to come.Sincerely,Ware Sykes

  37. John Revay

    Tuned into CBS radio while stepping out for lunch – it sounded like it passed – the service will start in Feb 2013?The year of the movement & the power of the AVC coummunity

  38. Lisa

    Just an anecdotal observation. Here in Chicago we are noticing that the cabs are much cleaner and the cabbies nicer since the arrival of Uber. The competition is raising the standard for all.

  39. howardlindzon

    nice work by everyone involved…done. I now need to use this process to get 1929 securities laws caught up in a process like this.

  40. panterosa,

    Yes, shift change times are really hard to find cabs.

  41. ErikSchwartz

    Not unless they can put more cabs on the street. The reason it is hard to find a cab on shift changes is there are fewer cabs on the street then.