Whether you side with Uber or the black cab drivers in the ongoing UK taxi regulation row, it's hard to argue against the convenience of Uber. Cashless, you simply book a car, jump in for your ride and the app handles all the monetary transactions. It's one of the bigger advantages Uber has over the black cab trade, but it's one that Uber can no longer solely boast – thanks to rivals Hailo, all London black cabs can now handle cashless mobile payments.
The new HailoPay service exists alongside the standard Hailo app, meaning no app download at all is required. Instead, black cab drivers (each with a unique badge number) can send receipts direct to passengers signed up to HailoPay. Passengers simply need to enter the badge number into the HailoPay site. Once both parties have confirmed the fare (multiple passengers can split the cost, too), a cashless transaction between rider and driver is carried out.
Hailo CEO Andrew Pinnington hopes that the new offering will help change the black cab industry's current image as a "cash-only, technophobic trade". Drivers will have to sign up for HailoPay before taking advantage of the service unless already on Hailo's books. But with 15,000 of London's 22,500 already working alongside Hailo, it shouldn't be too hard to find one taking mobile payments already.