Taxi app Hailo pulling out of Canada, U.S. as ‘taxi wars’ heat up

Hailo CEO Tom Barr said the company will wrap up its operations across the U.S. and its two Canadian locations, Toronto and Montreal, due to low profits. File Photo/Hailo

TORONTO – London-based car-for-hire app Hailo announced Tuesday it will cease operations in North America thanks to growing competition from rival taxi services like Uber.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Hailo CEO Tom Barr said the company will wrap up its operations across the U.S. and in its two Canadian locations, Toronto and Montreal, due to low profits.

Hailo first launched in Toronto in 2012.

Barr said the company initially experienced growth in the North American market, but citied the ongoing price war between services like Uber and Lyft as the main reason why the Hailo is pulling out.

Hailo’s U.S. locations included New York, Chicago, Boston, Washington and Atlanta.

According to the Financial Times, about 20 staff members in the company’s Toronto, Montreal, Chicago, Boston and Washington offices are likely to lose their jobs.

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“This has been a difficult decision to make, and we are very sorry for the impact on our colleagues who will leave the company and are doing everything we can to help them with their future careers,” Barr said in a statement issued Tuesday.

“We and our investors are confident that our sharpened focus on Europe, Asia and services will help us have the biggest possible impact for our passengers and drivers.”

READ MORE: What can Montreal do to increase taxi safety?

But, there may be hope for the company’s Toronto operation.

In a blog post published Tuesday, president of Hailo Canada Justin Raymond revealed the Canadian management team is working to continue its services in the city.

“Today it was with regret that Hailo announced that we are wrapping up our operations in North America,” wrote Raymond.

“While this is obviously a very unfortunate situation, Hailo Toronto would like to assure its drivers and loyal passengers that we will continue to deliver and support our service for the foreseeable future.”

However, the blog post did not reveal any information as to how Hailo will continue to provide services in Toronto. The blog post does not mention any plans to continue service in Montreal.

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“We firmly believe that Toronto needs and deserves real competition in this market and we ask that our loyal drivers and customers continue to support us during this transitional period,” Raymond wrote.

Global News has contacted Hailo for comment and will update this story when more information becomes available.

Car-for-hire apps have been scrutinized by traditional cab drivers across North America and Europe.

READ MORE: Why taxi drivers are so upset about car-for-hire apps

In June, massive protests over rival app Uber caused traffic chaos in many European cities, including London, England where over 12,000 of the city’s famous black cab drivers blocked traffic.

Many taxi drivers say apps like Uber are threatening their livelihood and break local taxi rules.

Uber recently came under fire in Ottawa after city officials called the service unregulated. Uber currently operates in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax.

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