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Wanderley Massafelli/Photocall Ireland
Game on

Hey Uber and Hailo! There's a new rival in town

New taxi booking app Saytaxi will compete against booking giants in Dublin.

DUBLIN TAXI DRIVERS hoping to break the dominance of Hailo are rolling out a rival app that promises lower fees and better service than their giant booking rivals.

In a market already recovering from the introduction of global gamechanger Uber, local cabbies Martin Byrne and Stephen O’Connell are about to launch the Dublin edition of Saytaxi.

The app, which is now operating in 12 cities around the world, will connect passengers with licensed taxis charging the metered fare – although bills will be free from any pickup fees.


So why Saytaxi?

For drivers there is the lure of lower fees than rival Hailo, while for customers there is the promise of more accurate estimates for pickup times, the ability to pre-book services and a more “courteous” collection, Byrne told

“We are trying to be customer friendly, so we will wait longer – we have a 7.5-minute (free) waiting time,” he said.

“We also have a no callback policy … we will wait 5 minutes before we call the customer and tell them that we are there.”

We don’t have the huge funds that Uber and Hailo have to throw at this for advertising, so we will very much be driven by customer loyalty.”

Saytaxi is already running in locations including Australia, Bahrain, India and, believe it or not, Lagos in Nigeria.

4898511312_541ca9717a_b A taxi in Lagos, Nigeria. Not necessarily a Saytaxi user. Dario Valderrama Dario Valderrama

Hailo “heavy handed”

Byrne said 220 Dublin taxi drivers had already signed up ahead of the service’s official launch on 20 September and it was possible the app would be brought to Cork and other cities in the future.

“Basically, what we are trying to do is operate it in a small way to begin with … we want to keep the costs as low as possible for drivers,” he said.

They have felt that Hailo were using their dominance in Dublin and being a little bit too heavy handed.

Byrne said there will also be features to suit the restaurant and hotel sector, including a website plugin allowing taxi customers to book a cab direct to their destination with one click.

Too many hands in the pot?

Byrne said it was “an interesting question” whether there was enough demand in the Dublin market to service three major players.

“Drivers certainly think there is (demand); this is very much driver charged,” he said.

Hailo has reported booking about 20,000 trips a day in Dublin, although Uber, which has launched across the world and was recently valued at US$18 billion, is yet to release any firm figures on its local users.

Twitter Hailo Twitter / vinniequin Twitter / vinniequin / vinniequin

Another app, Wundercar, allows drivers to share their rides in return for non-obligatory tips – although Irish authorities have warned it may be illegal if the cars are not licensed for hire.

READ: Ireland is the first country to see near nationwide coverage for Hailo taxis

READ: 300 taxi drivers protest in Dublin city over ads, parking and too many taxis

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