City Paper is not for tourists
Hailo—-a service that hails taxicabs through an Uber-like app—-is taking us back to 2010, and employing the Rent Is Too Damn High guy to tell us that Uber’s rates are, well, too damn high.
The company announced that it would temporarily slash its prices in half in the D.C. area between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Except Hailo doesn’t actually have the authority to cut fare rates (unlike Uber, a Sedan service that is regulated separately from the city’s taxicab fleet). Hailo charges customers a $1.50 fee to hail a cab on its app, and then customers pay the typical metered cab rate for their ride. So while the half-off promotion is in place, Hailo will pay for half of the cab fare out of its own pocket. Kevin Hatfield, the co-President of Hailo North America, won’t say how much money the company is willing to put into the promotion.
“Take advantage of it while it is happening,” Hatfield tells City Desk.
While Hailo doesn’t use demand-based price surges like Uber, it’s clear it doesn’t always think Uber’s rates are actually too damn high. Last month, UberX dropped its fares by 15 percent in D.C, a hard hit to the competing cab drivers. Hailo eventually wants D.C. to drop some of the fees that drive D.C. taxicabs’ rates up and says it’s providing technology to D.C. cabs to allow them to compete with companies like Uber.
With this promotion, Hailo boasts it’s now the cheapest option in D.C.—-even cheaper than UberX. (Though probably not cheaper than, say, walking or public transit.)
Jimmy McMillan—-founder of the The Rent is Too Damn High political party and former New York mayoral and gubernatorial candidate—-was at the Verizon Center today campaigning on a float for a fairer riding system and calling out Uber.
So what does McMillan have to do with Uber and cabs?
“Our marketing team—-they’re a fun bunch,” says Hatfield. “I think they wanted to capitalize on his catchphrase. People are talking about it.”
Photo by David Shankbone via Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0