Hailo fights Uber ride-sharing plans


Taxi app Hailo has voiced its support for the Department of Transport's recommendation to not extend permission to Uber to offer ride-sharing services which go beyond those offered by traditional taxi firms.

Tim Arnold, Hailo's general manager for Ireland said that, "ride-sharing, and the substantial lowering of standards that it would entail, amounts to a race to the bottom on quality and price that would jeopardise passenger safety."

A brief prepared for the Minister for Transport by civil servants signalled strong official resistance to most of Uber's services. In other regions apps like Uber allow unlicensed taxi drivers offer lifts for money.

Kieran Harte, general manager of Uber for Ireland and Northern Ireland said that the company will continue to engage with the Department and that its services are "reliable" and "safe."

Irish laws currently require anyone offering transport in a car for money to hold a taxi licence. The limited Uber service which is offered in Ireland uses registered taxi drivers.

Mr Arnold says that Hailo is an example of taxi innovation within the law.

Uber has argued that the tracking of rides through the app provides security for passengers.

The company says that an Uber Pop style offering could help to service regions in Ireland which are under-served by taxi companies, including the outskirts of Dublin City.

UberPop allows casual vetted drivers to use the app to offer people lifts for money - without being a licensed taxi driver. This service has been causing controversy across Europe, and provoked aggressive protests in France last summer.

It plans to launch an alternative version of the service in Ireland and hopes to use Limerick as a trial city.

Uber has created 400 jobs in the city through the opening of its only centre of excellence outside of the US.

Big business

Volkswagen and Toyota have announced separate investments in fast-growing Israeli and US taxi-hailing app companies respectively.

Volkswagen is to stump up $300m to form a strategic partnership with the Israeli start-up Gett which will involve, amongst other linkages, the German car maker offering on-demand transport services for business customers and discounts for Gett drivers on VW cars to use as taxis.

Toyota meanwhile is to invest an unspecified amount in Uber. This will involve new leasing options for Uber drivers, and shared research in the use of driverless cars.

In a similar move, earlier this year, General Motors injected $500m into the US taxi-hailing app, Lyft.

Joseph Conroy, Newstalk.com

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