Ugly Scenes As London Taxi Drivers Attack Smartphone App Offices
Published on: 22nd May 2014
The offices of the taxi ordering mobile app have been attacked, apparently by London taxi cab drivers.
The drivers of London's famous black cabs are said to be angry that the Hailo app is being expanded to work with unlicensed mini-cab drivers.
Following the attack on the Hailo offices, the word "scab" was written on the building, and the police had to be called when the protest got violent.
Unlike rival app, Uber, which is aimed at just minicab drivers, the Hailo was originally developed by three black-cab drivers and exclusive to their service. It allowed users to order a black cab through their smartphone, and it then allocated the work to the nearest black cab available.
However, the company said that it had to react to customer preferences and broaden its reach to include unlicensed minicabs, sparking fury from the black-cab drivers.
Steve McNamara, head of the London Taxi Drivers' Association, the trade union for the black-cab drivers said that "feelings were running high".
Of the incident at the Hailo office he said: "Things turned a little bit nasty, punches were thrown and the police were called."
Beyond that, he said, drivers were deleting the app and "queuing up" to have the Hailo stickers removed from their cabs.
The issue then though is what will customers do -- will they ditch smartphone ordering, or simply take their custom to rivals such as Uber, and to the minicab trade instead?