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What's the difference between Hailo and Uber taxi?

Posted by Chris Bateman / September 29, 2012

toronto uber hailoThere are two new apps in town both designed to make hailing a cab (something I daresay wasn't that hard in the first place) a little bit easier. As someone new to smartphones - I've barely had my iPhone 4S two months and my last cell was a Nokia thing with an LCD display - I feel I'm more than qualified to mash my fingers on the screen in an attempt to make a car come to me, wirelessly!

So, first impressions. I downloaded both Hailo and Uber and began the configuration process. Both were extremely similar: enter my name, email, and credit card details. Plus points for Uber, though, which let me scan my card like a QR code instead of punching in the numbers like some sort of neanderthal.

Registration complete, both apps presented me with the home screen. Hailo shows my current location and a little counter telling me how many minutes away the nearest car is to me. Uber gives me a similar screen but the app also allows me to see on the map the nearest taxi, "black" and SUV. In Uber, both taxi and SUV options were temporarily unavailable so I had to select the more expensive black option, though it wasn't entirely clear what it was (for the uninitiated, it's a sleek, four-seater sedan).

At this stage, on the surface, both are almost identical. Some helpful souls in the App Store comments' section left promo codes for Uber which gave me $10 credit. A quick Google search scored me a $5 off coupon for Hailo. In just a couple of minutes I'm ready to summon a driver to my door. Both apps use GPS to find me though I can drag the marker to a different location if necessary.toronto hailo uberBehind the scenes is where Hailo and Uber differ. Though they both seem to offer similar services, Uber offers a selection of luxury vehicles for the style conscious metro traveler. Hailo sticks to regular cabs and seems to work best for people who need a quick ride.

Both companies make allowances for tips: Hailo lets you set an automatic tip while Uber builds the cost of gratuity into the fare and pays the driver at the end of each week with their regular pay packet. Both make it possible for me to order and pay for a journey without reaching for my wallet or lifting a receiver.

Hailo charges a city standard $4.25 minimum fare plus the cost on the meter. At the end of the journey, the cost is automatically tallied up and billed to my credit card on file (ye olde cash is also accepted). Uber operates in a similar way, charging the flat fee for the pick-up plus the meter. A minimum fare of $15 applies for sedans and the company charges $30 minimum plus a $15 surcharge for SUVs. Cancellations cost $10 with Uber and $5 with Hailo.toronto hailo appA document circulated recently by the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association - a trade group with a vested interest in keeping taxi services in the telephone era - suggested apps like Uber are placing passengers at risk by operating without the safeguards provided by traditional dispatchers.

"All of our drivers are licensed taxi drivers or licensed limosine drivers by the City of Toronto, and all the cities we operate in," says Andrew McDonald, the GM of Uber Toronto. "They're fully insured ... and we also check their vehicle registration. All of these things make them licensed to drive in Toronto. The same way a taxi driver picks up a street hail on the side of the road, the passenger is not at risk."

McDonald says the drivers in the Uber pool are freelancers and free to accept jobs from the company as they choose. The software is designed so drivers can pick up fares around their regular schedule. In response to the TLPA's claims that Uber absolves itself of liability in the small print, McDonald likens the company to Expedia selling Air Canada flights. "[They're] not going to assume all responsibility for what happens on your vacation."

In contrast, Hailo is a fully-licensed dispatch company.toronto uber appSo, bottom line. Both Hailo and Uber are a cinch to use and really quite intuitive to set up and navigate. For my money, Hailo has a slight edge in terms of presentation, though neither are unsightly. If you need to arrive in style, use Uber and book a black sedan or SUV. People like me will probably be fine with Hailo or the taxi option in Uber.

Right now, Uber operates in more cities in Europe and North America which will be useful if you're a frequent traveler and don't want to spend time in local telephone directories. Hailo, at present, is also available in London, New York, Dublin, Chicago, and Boston. For wheelchair users, Hailo promises an accessible vehicle option soon. In the meantime, the app lets users call the driver with any special requests.

Whichever company you choose you'll get a sense that this is the future. It can't be long before many more of our daily tasks are streamlined by smartphones. Now, if there was an app to bring me dinner from my favorite restaurant and a decent bottle of wine.



I don't / September 29, 2012 at 01:34 am
Who cares?
Sean / September 29, 2012 at 03:09 am
When can we order an ice cream truck in July?
LimboMan / September 29, 2012 at 08:15 am
There is! Check out Exec for those services.
Lucas / September 29, 2012 at 10:10 am
Just a quick note on the cost of TAXI with Uber:

We charge the metered cab rate + a 20% built in gratuity
There is no minimum charge

Only our Black car & SUV options have minimum charges. You can find the pricing over at

- Lucas, Uber Toronto Community Manager
Alexander replying to a comment from Lucas / September 29, 2012 at 04:30 pm
A 20% gratuity? Really? Who on earth tips a cabbie 20%? Pass.
moony / September 29, 2012 at 04:32 pm
What are some sample prices for Hailo? Uber seems like a pretty convenient service, but the prices are definitely a lot higher than if I were to just hail a cab on the street (which really isn't bad).

Also, you can call an airport limo service and pay a flat fee of $45+tip from downtown TO. From their site, Uber charges $65(!).
Justin Kozuch replying to a comment from moony / September 29, 2012 at 05:28 pm
Hi Moony:

Our prices are in line with what you would normally pay for a cab ride; namely, you pay the $4.25 minimum and the total fare on the meter.

Justin Kozuch
Social Media Marketing & Community Management
Hailo Toronto
Matts / September 29, 2012 at 07:03 pm
I hate forced gratuities with passion and will not, on principle, use Uber because of that.
Colin Smillie / September 29, 2012 at 07:39 pm
I'm not sure I see the advantage over the Beck Taxi app?
John replying to a comment from Matts / September 29, 2012 at 07:48 pm
Totally agree!

I take a cab often and always tip a driver when I am satisfied with their service. All too often I am greeted with a driver who insists on talking on their cell phone or bluetooth for the whole trip. I'm sorry, but that's highly unprofessional, not to mention dangerous.

I once told a driver to put down his cell phone while I was sitting in the back seat (he was trying to reply to a text!) and he became rude and irate saying it's his car and he can do what he wants. Needless to say, I told him to pull over and let me out - hope he enjoyed his $5.50 fare - which would have been $30 or more.

John replying to a comment from John / September 29, 2012 at 07:54 pm
Forgot to add - last post turned into a bit of a rant..

Forced gratuities imply that whether or not the level of service is satisfactory, the driver is entitled to a reward. Please tell me where the incentive is for the driver to act in a courteous and professional manner and if they are always guaranteed a reward? A star rating after already paying means nothing....

Justin Kozuch replying to a comment from Colin Smillie / September 29, 2012 at 08:16 pm
Hey Colin,

Our mobile app has a few distinct differences over that of Beck's. Of note:

1. Realtime vehicle tracking. When you book with Hailo, you can see your car moving towards your location on a map. In addition, you can see the driver's name, photo, door number and rating. You can also call the driver directly (and vice versa) if you need to relay any important information.

2. Payment is handed via the phone. No need to carry cash, a debit card or credit.

Hope this helps clarifies a few of the key differences between us and the Beck mobile offering!

Justin Kozuch
Social Media Marketing & Community Management
Hailo Toronto
Phil / September 30, 2012 at 04:32 pm
I've tested both systems and I'm sticking with Uber as I like the vehicle options. I've also been more impressed with the drivers using the Uber system but that is a bit of a generalization.

Use the link below to get a $10 credit in your account (new users only).
me / September 30, 2012 at 11:49 pm
i hope you can set precise addresses (on either app), since 1177 & 1180 danforth are on opposite sides of the street. (and, yes, i realize that's not a huge distance, but if i'm paying for a door-to-door service, i want it at my door, not the near vicinity).
Justin Kozuch replying to a comment from me / October 1, 2012 at 09:12 am
Using the Hailo app, you can set precise addresses. However, you'll find the location-finding capabilities are reliable enough that the app should find your precise location quite handily.

That said, if you need any help, send us an email at and we'll take care of you.

Justin Kozuch
Social Media Marketing & Community Management
Hailo Toronto
Chris / October 11, 2012 at 05:49 am
As a London cabbie I was quite hesitant about Hailo, but after a few days I realised how much the customers were loving it, it is such a simple app to use, and for me it's doing remarkable well in only 6 months over 6.000 cabbies have joined and 250 every week are joining, it now accounts for almost 30% of my business. So my advice to any doubters out there, don't knock it untill you try it.

Be lucky

Chris St. John
Seth / October 16, 2012 at 03:09 pm
Cool, a lot of new apps in this space like and
JIm replying to a comment from Alexander / October 28, 2012 at 06:39 pm
Well you get charged a 20% tip for what you think is going to the driver however Uber will not disclose to you that they dont actually give the driver that 20%. Uber is a bunch of shisters.
Bek replying to a comment from John / November 5, 2012 at 05:33 pm
You said star rating is nothing, but after star you have something to say option then say it, i know i have friends who were removed from uber for just one complaint, not being rude actually not knowing the best way to go.
Uber User / January 20, 2013 at 08:43 pm
Both Uber and Hailo are comparable, but Uber is nice with the added option of getting bigger or fancier cars. That seems to give Uber the slight edge so far.

Use the code or link below to get a FREE $10 credit on your first ride:

PROMO CODE: uberfirstride10
Chris / January 23, 2013 at 02:21 pm
Most of us want to get to our destination as quickly and simply as possible using the best drivers who have made a career choice to become professional taxi drivers. If for instance I was in New York I would use the traditional yellow cabs. A free bottle of water and newspaper or discount coupon would not entice me, as in life nothing's for free.
kenny / February 6, 2013 at 01:24 am

Hailo promotion code UBTMNX
Liam replying to a comment from kenny / February 11, 2013 at 11:16 am
Code doesn't work
Jason replying to a comment from Justin Kozuch / March 6, 2013 at 04:59 pm
I'm still confused by this line:

"Our prices are in line with what you would normally pay for a cab ride; namely, you pay the $4.25 minimum and the total fare on the meter."

When I hail a cab in the 20th Century way, I only pay the amount on the meter, plus a tip, if I so choose. This statement suggests that if I use Hailo, I will pay a minimum fee of $4.25 plus the metered fare ($4.25 + time/distance charges) for a base of $8.50. Am I understanding this correctly?
Laura G. replying to a comment from Jason / March 7, 2013 at 12:00 pm
Jason: I was a little confused by that explanation too, but I found this on the Uber website:

"TAXI from Uber costs the same as a Toronto city cab. Your driver will enter the metered fare and then Uber will automatically add a 20% gratuity for the driver. You’ll receive an emailed receipt showing the breakdown."

So, I don't think he meant there's a $4.25 charge on top of that. Just the same metered fare you'd normally pay (plus the 20% tip, unfortunately).
Uber / March 11, 2013 at 05:26 pm
Limited time offer:

Free Black Car ride up to $40 (It is for new users only)!

PROMO CODE: uberfree618142
Billco / March 14, 2013 at 10:45 pm
The fundamental problem I see with both these services, is they are what's colloquially known as "underground taxis". Backhanding to a licensed taxi company is fine, no different than those text-to-hail services that have been around forever, but once you start rolling out independent drivers with these "black cars", you run afoul of municipal bylaws and the fines can be obscene!

I briefly worked as one such underground driver a long time ago, and later as an above-board taxi driver, which is how I became acquainted with these bylaws. I am in no way endorsing the taxi racket, as that is really what it is: a municipal government-sanctioned racket where they charge a fortune to license each vehicle, effectively creating a system where independent drivers cannot afford the license and are forced to work through an existing company which then charges extortionate fees to "rent" the license.

I like the idea of Uber and Hailo, heck I would sign up as a driver myself, I used to have a lot of fun driving people around. There is no rational argument for a driver with a good record and proper insurance to be forbidden from working for hire, but we need to drastically change how the taxi industry works, starting with these corrupt and/or misguided municipal policymakers who create and maintain the legal environment that nurtures these abusive, uncompetitive taxi cartels.
nombo / April 3, 2013 at 09:34 am
my partner happened to hail a Hailo cab yesterday, and was not able to use VISA to pay for the fair. We were taken to a bank machine 10 minutes from our home, and my partner had to walk home from there.

When you go to the Hailo website, it doesn't say the forms of accepted payment - just touts the app. Not being signed up for the service, nor really interested in it - we have to judge the company by the level of service given. We won't be using Hailo again.
Justin Kozuch replying to a comment from nombo / April 5, 2013 at 10:24 am
Hi there,

Thank you for the feedback. We have listed the accepted forms of payment on our website at - they are: MasterCard, Visa, or American Express.

In terms of your ride experience, I'd like to look into this for you. Could you email with details about what happened?

Thank you,

Justin Kozuch
Social Media Marketing & Community Management
Hailo Toronto
Mi5 / May 7, 2013 at 12:09 pm
Does Uber cover service in the Markham area?
B / September 18, 2013 at 05:32 pm
Hailo won't allow me to enter an AMEX card? It's expecting 4 fields of 4 digits? Anyone else run into this?
Danny / October 1, 2013 at 12:26 am
I guess uber doesn't have much to time to address anything that has been said !! Hailo already gets a gold star for continuing to monitor this post
BOUHALFAYA Jean Michel / October 14, 2013 at 05:54 pm
Ou se trouve uber
Dan replying to a comment from Danny / November 13, 2013 at 12:13 pm
no, but uber offers discount codes and cheap first rides! In addition, we also offer drivers who are multilingual and many who are well educated from other countries! One of our driver was previously a doctor in India!
Gence Nointeli replying to a comment from Billco / November 25, 2013 at 10:18 am
Most municipalities have a Taxi By-Law Clause/Regulation that forbids a licensed Taxi from being associated with more than one Taxi Brokerage at a time. The By-Law also often forbid drivers from acting as unlicensed Taxi Brokers by offering their mobile number, soliciting a customer to call them directly in the future. It's a common sense regulation to avoid any conflict of interest.
In my view Taxi Apps like Uber & Hailo etc. are in fact operating as Taxi Dispatching Brokerages regardless of their location and technology. They simply don't pass the Duck Test: Regardless of what they tell me, when I see a bird that quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, has feathers and webbed feet—I’m certainly going to assume that it is a duck.
However if a licensed Taxi operated independently of any Brokerage (we call it free-wheeling), and most municipalities allow this in their Taxi By-Law, then there should be no problem.
To all Taxi drivers: own a copy of your Municipal Taxi By-Law. READ & UNDERSTAND IT. Remember that enforcement of any By-Law will likely be upon the licensee. That's you! Use these apps at your own risk.

25 years a taxi operator in Southern York Region, Ontario, Canada
waterbottle / December 2, 2013 at 05:10 pm
Use Xmas2013TO to get $20 off first uber ride
Tim / December 9, 2013 at 08:14 pm
I downloaded Hailo on Saturday as I was told it was a good taxi app and I use taxis a lot. Tried it, and, no problem getting a taxi at 5:30pm. I tried it at 10:30 and was told I would get a taxi in 10 minutes. Three minutes later I got a message saying the taxi was cancelled by the driver or something to that effect. I thought maybe I did something so I tried it again, and was told I would get a tax in 11 minutes. Five minutes later I got a message saying the taxi was cancelled by the driver. What is happening is that the driver is picking up a fare that is flagging them, and do not have to waste precious minutes coming to get me. However, as far as Hailo being a useful app., it is not. If you can't be convinced a taxi that is booking on will come, the app is useless. I did complain to Hailo, and received a feedback number but that is all; did not hear back from Hailo.

Try Uber.
Me replying to a comment from Tim / December 9, 2013 at 10:06 pm
That was me. I can function in the real world without "apps". GASP!! I was able to put up my arm and yell "HEY TAXI!!" and the cab came right to me and stopped. How about that? It's so simple yet it works.
Lorraine / February 11, 2014 at 11:21 am
I would just like to post my recent Uber experience for everyone to be aware of:
My first couple rides were very nice but it was also because I coincidentally had the same driver.
My most recent experience was the worst ever!
The driver, thinking my friend did not speak french, said to his friend on the phone that he was going to take the long way. My friend in return responded in french so this man knew he understood. He still took the long way because my friend is not familiar with the Montreal roads. When living in Westmount and going to the train station in downtown Montreal, the last and most indirect choice is to take the highway!
The trip did end up costing more and I reported this to Uber customer service. Whom to my disappointment, condones this behaviour by only refunding me the difference of this trip to my last one. Which means the driver still gets a tip (which he does not deserve) and which I have to pay. Also I have to pay for a service that was completely dishonest.
The Uber drivers work and abide by the Uber values: Not very impressed so far!
Also in the response they did not even apologies for the inconvenience!
If this is the service they offer I see no difference in taking the first cab I see rather than waiting for an uber taxi.

I have referred a lot of friends to Uber who will all now cancel their subscriptions and simply stick to regular taxi services.

I wish I can tell you the drivers name so no one has to be in that situation!

Rob replying to a comment from Lorraine / February 11, 2014 at 11:43 am
In fairness, this is like cabbie trick #1 since the beginning of time. Nothing to do with either service. The fact that they refunded you anything is better than getting into an argument with a "regular" cabbie.
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Marc / April 9, 2014 at 11:12 am
The MASSIVE difference in London, is that Black Cabs on Hailo actually know where they are going! The minicabs (and thats exactly what they are), that Uber use, are just anyone who hasn't got a clue with a driving licence........ & even that's debatable sometimesI
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Lori / June 18, 2014 at 10:06 am
Attempted twice now to get an Uber cab - no cab comes. Customer service is impossible to deal with. Going to try Hailo next.
sam / June 30, 2014 at 04:15 pm
Next time you take a cab just remembered that if u take uber you are going to put money in a company's pocket that don't care about the quality of their driver and cutting toronto cabs driver pocket. Moreover you might be ticket by the city of toronto a 50$ fine if seen my MTL (minister of transportation) taking a uber cab plus the driver gets a ticket for 375$ if taken pictures from someone. I just had to pay a ticket because I took a uber cab. I am never going to take a uber cab again.
Chris / July 3, 2014 at 11:21 am
I love Hailo, I use it all the time mostly over regular cabs. In Toronto hailing a cab is not hard, but I like not needing cash to do so and not risking my credit card, I do not take cabs to often and I have had at least one cab driver try to double charge me.
I have never had a problem with Hailo, they do have black cars which means little to me, but may interest others. What is important is that the drivers so far have been polite, courteous and professional. When I approach the car the driver addresses me by name to make sure that I am his intended fare, and the app knows when we are moving together and continues to track us both.
Hailo is a licensed dispatcher and they have their own (small?) fleet of cars as well as making use of other companies as well, so there are no concerns there. Because of this I never have to worry about that ticket mentioned by sam.

Last thing I want to mention is that so far no Hailo driver has been stupid enough to try to take the long route with me ever. I honestly cannot see anyone doing that anymore... we have smart phones with GPS, we can map the basic route and know if they stray to far from it. I have been in places where the driver had to take round about routes due to a billion one way streets and I see those and accept them. But the last time, 5 years or more, a cab driver tried to take me on a tour while I was looking at my smart phone and called him on it, he wasn't happy but we were $70 in on the cab ride at the time and that was not a fare he was willing to loose, I ended up paying $80 which was about what it should have been without the detour and he lost out on a large tip. Anyone using Hailo or Uber can do this, with Hailo as we drive the app actually shows me my location, so why would a driver even try?
Jan / July 21, 2014 at 09:52 pm
The City of Toronto has laid 35 charges against Uber and is waiting to go to Provincial court. Uber is not licensed and drivers can use their personal vehicles! As for Hailo, they also do not own any taxis. The drivers work for other taxi companies. Uber & Hailo absolve themselves of any risk or responsibility to you. If you leave something behind, who do you call? If you have a complaint, who do you call? If you have an accident, who do you call? Not every driver drives the same car and in the squinty print Hailo and Uber say you are on your own. And to voluntarily give your credit card number to one of these companies is just bizarre. The amount of the fare is confirmed AFTER you leave the taxi!! If you are a fan of apps, use a Beck Taxi app so you have a company to contact.
Jan replying to a comment from Chris / July 21, 2014 at 09:56 pm
sorry, Hailo owns no taxis and they don't make any effort to tell you that...until you forget something in the car, or have a complaint or get into an accident or your credit card gets charged more than it was supposed to. Beck Taxi has an app and a real live person answers the phone when you are in need. As for credit card information, anything automated leaves you at risk to pay more than you should. Protect yourself.
Jan replying to a comment from Colin Smillie / July 21, 2014 at 10:07 pm
Hello Colin, the most important feature of a Beck Taxi app is that the driver who picks you up works in their company and is licensed by the City of Toronto. This driver is on a GPS system. A real live person answers the phone to assist you if you are in need, or use the Beck app. Read the squinty print for Uber and Hailo. You are on your own if you are in an accident, if you leave something behind, if you have a complaint. Uber advertises to those who don't want to bother with a license and yet drive you in their personal vehicles!! Yikes! Big safety issue! And Hailo will advertise "their black cabs". They don't own a single vehicle! Another safety issue. And giving out credit card info so an amount can be charged automatically AFTER you've left the vehicle. Not so convenient when it's the wrong amount and with a built in tip.
Toronto Taxi Driver / July 23, 2014 at 07:41 am
Can UBER drivers in Toronto use GPS to navigate?
Toronto Taxi Driver / July 23, 2014 at 07:44 am
Mr. Lucas..... can Toronto Taxi Drivers use GPS to navigate in the city....???
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According to the map, the availability of cars are more or less the same in the big cities. The figures become more interesting in smaller towns.
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