Aug. 24 - A number of new services allowing people to book taxis through smartphone apps have launched in London. Reuters Technology Correspondent Matt Cowan tests out two of the most talked about, Hailo and Uber. Matt Cowan reports.
London cabbies are famously -- now they're getting increasingly happy. Smartphone applications that connect prospective passengers with available taxi drivers have suddenly surged in popularity. Halo is one of a raft of these new taxi services drivers say. It does make a difference. I loved it but that's. It started when three London cabbies got together over a cup of -- to discuss what they could do to boost business in the down times. Russell hall is one of the county co founders. Taxis who ornament NC lots of the times. And and -- and uniforms which hostile. We knew we believed we could feel avoid. The three -- got together with three techies with the aim of building a Smartphone app that serve the needs of passengers and drivers alike. People that can just look at -- just to exceptional if found in drugs -- angels and doubled -- -- between -- -- Launched in November of last year hall says a quarter of London cabbies are now signed up to the service driver Scott -- says he was initially dubious but now he sold. And output. And it. Halos headquarters are located inside a -- ship on the River Thames it's from here -- co-founder and chief operating officer Casper -- Is applauding the plan to take the company into North America. It's already launched in Dublin. -- going. And only -- -- is a great place to -- -- London itself a kind of two billion and market. Worldwide we think there's a 35 billion dollar opportunity just taking kind of the biggest taxi cities around the world. So we don't have to find a huge chunk of that that is to be really meaningful business. The San Francisco based company Cooper has been operating in North America since 2010. It launched in London at the end of June. At a push of a button you could have a Mercedes. S class Jack you are accept. BMW seven series at your fingertips and so. You know water in the back -- magazines. -- find some of our cars. -- doesn't own its own fleet of cars but rather relies on signing up independent chauffeurs like Darren James Thomas. He says so far it's been a boon to business. What to do with young and of the article is called last week and because it has been going well my investment in Disco which is go a lot more specification and it. Cited the cost of government to Wi-Fi an opening half points but it's all right -- on exceed its TV screens. Both halo and -- boasted impressive list of investors excel partners -- instance it's comical ventures and Wellington partners are backing halo. Which is so far raised twenty million dollars Cooper which has been around longer has raised over forty million from backers like Goldman Sachs Menlo ventures Amazon's Jeff Bezos. And benchmark capital there are other apps trying to compete as well high stakes turf -- shaping up in Britain's capital. And beyond. -- -- --