A closer look at the mobile taxi offering in Ireland
I remember when Hailo first arrived into Dublin. It was a game-changer for those of us who are taxi-fiends.
For those who don't know how it works, the premise is very simple. You create an account, which shows your location and hail a taxi to your door. You see where the driver is when they're near and even pay without taking your wallet out of your pocket.
It was announced last year that 'Hailo' would become 'MyTaxi', an app owned by German car giant Daimler. They also own car brands such as Mercedes-Benz.
It's been quite the long goodbye. The news was first announced around this time last year and MyTaxi ads started to appear around February 2017. Hailo users have been prompted to move to the new MyTaxi app, but it has not been without its teething problems.
Users have complained about the lack of polish on the new application, while drivers say it does not provide the same level of detail as to where exactly customers are.
The ads are clever though.
There is another player in town, however, if MyTaxi isn't for you. Lynk (iOS and Android) is an Irish company, founded by Noel Ebbs. Ebbs has worked in the taxi industry for many years and has a passion for technology.
"We first released our app back in February 2015," explains Ebbs. "That was an experiment in the market for us. We wanted to see what kind of return we would get if we were to invest the kind of money that would need to be invested."
"We had a great interest in it, but it was obvious after 6 or 8 months that we had to up our game and redevelop all of our software across the board if we were going to compete with the big international players."
Ebbs and his team have spent the last 18-months researching and developing the next generation of the software.
"We have a couple of BETA versions of the consumer-end product being tested at the moment. One is on Windows 10 and the only one is on iOS and Android. They are working well for us. We have around 10,000 users using those for us. We're very happy with it."
The company intends to roll this new software out, across the board in Ireland, UK and US in the coming weeks.
Once this rollout is complete, it will place Lynk as a serious player in the international taxi game. They intend to have 100,000 drivers on their network by the end of next year.
Having used both apps over the last number of weeks, I have found they essentially do the same job. I can get from where I am, to where I want to go, without having to reach for my wallet. It's possible to pre-book a journey on both apps too. Personally speaking, I prefer the Lynk interface to MyTaxi.