I am a licensed NYC Medallion (Yellow) Taxi Driver with over 23
years of experience spread out over the past 33 years. Recently I
signed up to be a Hailo driver and was so for a few days. I severed
my connection with Hailo after it became inescapably clear to mr that
the Hailo driver app as it used here in our city encourages, or actually
makes inevitable, unsafe driving practices on the part of the taxi drivers
who participate with Hailo.
The app forces the driver to use a telephone while driving, and to input
data while driving. On top of that it is often not accurate in directing the
driver to the prospective passenger causing situations in which the driver
is under pressure to back up or execute u turns. The GPS map used does not
have voice capabilities which mean that the driver must both watching the
map and the road at the same time if he or she finds the need to use the map.
I am confused as to whether or not there was a pilot program for
Hailo prior to its being approved. If there was one I cannot believe
that any thought could have been given to the matter I am raising ith you.
Hailo's representatives will tell you that each driver acknowledges
at the start of each shift that the app is only to be used while the car
is standing. This though is a ruse and a dodge of responsibility as they
could not themselves believe this to be practicable or even possible
in many cases. I hope that you as members of The City Council
Transportation Committee will give this matter due consideration.
I drove as a Hailo driver for a few days, I've been a NYC taxi driver for 23 of the past 33 years, so perhaps I know what I am talking about. Hailo does not solve a problem that for the most part does not exist in NYC, that of a taxi shortage. Like even a quick lunch at McDonalds, sometimes a person has to wait but in New York City there is an abundance of taxis and car services. At those times taxis are really scarce (raining at shift change time) Hailo is useless. Why would a taxi driver pass up people waiving and whistling and shouting to him in order to answer a Hailo call? Only if he is trying to impress the Hailo management and is in a way "cultified." The other reason would be if it ever were to become mandatory or if Hailo became so predominant (which tt won't in New York City). Hailo is instituting a point system for drivers with little badges of bronze, silver and gold and other "recognition" but drivers drive for money not recognition and they are well accustomed to not getting much respect. Hailo's business model is to get "everyone on board" meaning the Mayor, the Taxi Limousine Commission and the media in order to create "inevitability." Then come the screws, the so far missing fees and charges to one and all, count on it,
Safety is the main issue
They will deny it and they take steps to dodge responsibility for it but Hailo requires drivers to answer and make phone calls and fiddle around with their app while driving.
Really someone in the media should spend a few hours riding "shotgun" with a Hailo driver without Hailo's knowledge. Perhaps a monitoring camera would do.