An open letter to London Taxi Drivers

Hailo is now a global business, with operations across three continents. That means we see first hand what’s already happening elsewhere and what’s coming fast to London.

Across the world, in cities such as San Francisco, Toronto and Chicago, cabs are under real threat from new players. These companies are not always playing by the rules and the rules are not always being enforced, yet they are popular amongst passengers and they’re taking customers away from traditional taxis in their thousands.

Drivers like you are losing their livelihoods because passengers are moving to apps that don’t offer taxis as an option. It’s happening in London. Let’s do something about it.

Hailo was founded by taxi drivers and has put more money in forward-thinking cabbies’ pockets than anyone else. When we started, it was a straight fight between taxis and private hire. Now, it’s not so simple. These are tough times that call for tough decisions - and that means doing what’s right, not what’s popular.

The easy option is to pretend nothing has changed - that taxis can somehow win by going it alone. But that would be to fail the industry and every driver in it. Instead, we will do whatever it takes to grow work for taxi drivers and keep black cabs relevant to the changing demands of passengers and businesses.

That means not ducking the difficult or unpopular decisions, but doing what it takes to keep taxis relevant and competitive. We must make sure taxis are an option available on every passenger’s smartphone.

Hailo has applied for a Private Hire operator’s licence in preparation to have the full service that passengers and businesses tell us they want. There is no point burying our heads in the sand - people want a choice and taxis need to be in the mix. A taxi-only app will get isolated and customers will take their money to services without any cabs on offer. It is already happening. Let’s win back that work.

Individuals who are in denial of this truth are part of the problem not the solution. The worst thing the taxi industry could do now is deny that things are changing and hold onto the past. Complaining is not a strategy.

Every free-thinking driver knows that you’ve got to be in it to win it. Passengers want a choice and if we don’t give them what they want, they will take their money to car apps that don’t offer taxis at all. We need to compete and make sure passengers can choose a taxi when they want one.

For example, if we want taxis to take a share of account work, then it is a must that we offer executive cars too. It is better that taxis get 80% of a city bank’s jobs than 100% of nothing.

Taxis will always be front and centre of Hailo. Together we’ve done over five million jobs and this is just the start. Let’s move with the times and work out how to win together.

Ron Zeghibe, Co-founder and Chairman, Hailo

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