After taking London and Dublin by storm, Hailo has crossed the Atlantic and brought the world’s largest app-based taxi service to North America. Beginning today, Torontonians can hail and pay for a taxi with two taps on the screen of their iPhone – at the same rate as a regular taxi ride.

Hailo was founded in 2011 in London, England by three taxi drivers and three internet entrepreneurs who set out to bring a centuries-old industry into the 21st century.

“Technology is driving the change that the taxi industry so desperately needs. Our mission at Hailo is simple,” says Hailo Canada President Justin Raymond. “We want to make the taxi experience better and easier for both passengers and drivers. By offering an easier, faster and simply better taxi experience, we believe Hailo is going to fundamentally change the way that people move around the city.”

In Toronto, today’s launch makes Hailo the city’s second largest taxi network. The company received official licensing from the City of Toronto in August – the first app-based taxi company in Canada to receive official city licensing.

“Hailo is putting drivers first by bringing real change to the market and a completely new way of connecting drivers and passengers” explains Louis Seta, one of Hailo Canada’s driver partners and a 30-year veteran of the Toronto taxi industry.

Hailo promises to streamline the taxi experience for passengers in three ways:

Hail in two taps. With Hailo you can hail a taxi from your home, office or restaurant and watch it arrive in real time.

Safe and reliable. No more wandering the streets looking for a taxi. Hailo uses only licensed Toronto taxi drivers and provides every customer with the driver’s photo, first name and rating before he or she arrives to pick you up.

Effortless payment. Hailo’s integrated smartphone payment system means customers simply hop out of the cab at the end of a ride without having to hand over a credit card. An electronic receipt is sent immediately.

For taxi drivers in Toronto, Hailo means three things:

A lower cost burden. Currently, almost 40 cents of every dollar that a shift driver makes goes to pay people other than the driver – with Hailo, 85 cents on the dollar stays in a driver’s pocket. Hailo eliminates the need for dispatch fees and other charges so drivers pay only when they take a fare through the system.

An easier way to make money. Cabs run empty in Toronto about 60% of the time. By helping drivers work smarter, not harder, Hailo drivers can increase revenues by 20-30%. Plus, the Hailo network allows drivers to share information about high demand areas or traffic congestion.

A safer ride. Drivers know who their passengers are, eliminating fare skipping.

Hailo is available for free from the App Store on iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and at