Waving down a cab from the sidewalk is so last year.
Hailo, a smartphone app founded by three London cabbies, is making a move on Chicago.
The app uses GPS to find the closest cab, tracks the vehicle as it travels toward you, and provides vital information about the driver such as his/her name, a picture and a star rating provided by other users.
"There's a safety aspect where you know what you're getting into, especially for ladies traveling at night," founder Russell Hall says.
Users will already have their credit card info plugged into the app when they sign up, which they can use to automatically pay for the ride, or pay cash. And yes, you will pay a bit more for the convenience -- $1.50-$2.75, depending on the time of day.
Hailo is busily signing up cab drivers in the city and claims to have more than 700 on board.
They've also hired Chicago cab driver Rashid Temuri as an ambassador of sorts. Temuri has created a large Twitter following as @chicagocabbie, and is a big proponent of Hailo, mainly because the company offers a separate app strictly for the drivers.
"Not only do I get fares, I can run credit cards on it and it charges me less than any cab company, and it's much easier and faster and the money gets into my bank account quicker," Temuri said.
Hailo enters the Chicago market and provides immediate competition with Uber, a smartphone app that offers a similar cab services, along with town cars and SUVs, although Uber is currently being scrutinized by the city for its luxury offerings.
Hall didn't want to discuss any competitors directly, but expressed certainly that Hailo will come out on top.
"We're quite confident in what we've produced will be a winner, but it's a healthy market for apps. I'm quite certain that the drivers that join Hailo will get more work out of what Hailo's created," Hall said.