I can’t even begin to imagine how many times I have been to London since becoming a Mummy, in the beginning I would always drive because I didn’t like the idea of the train and the underground with a pushchair and a baby. Then after a number of bad experiences in the car I decided to give trains a try and I found it so much less stressful that it has become my main method of transport when travelling alone with the children. A couple of times I tried the underground too but most of the places I was visiting were too far away from disabled access tube stations so it made things quite difficult getting to and from the platforms with a pushchair and toddler in tow so I opted to walk instead. Most of the time this has been ok and I have enjoyed seeing more of London but it has also resulted in me arriving at events hot and flustered and totally exhausted by the time I get home in the evening.
Then a couple of weeks ago I received an email asking if I would like to try out Hailo The Black Cab App. I assumed that this was a new ‘thing’ but it turns out it’s been running for a few years and I have had my head buried in the sand!! As it so happened I had a trip to London planned at the end of the week which was going to be tight for time so this turned out to be the perfect opportunity for me to give Hailo a whirl. I promptly downloaded the App to my phone and set up my own profile, I was ready to get started.
On the morning of my trip I dropped Little Bean off at school and then took Beanie Boy over to my MIL who was going to look after him for the day, then Jelly Bean and myself hopped in the car and made our way to Peterborough train station. The train journey was relaxing as we found our seat and Jelly Bean fell asleep on me so I was able to read a magazine – woohoo!!! As we walked off the platform at Kings Cross train station I fired up the App which automatically searched for the nearest available black cab. Once found Hailo asked me if I would like to pay by cash or card, I selected pay by card (I had been given some credit to test the facility). Once my payment preference had been accepted my cab was hailed and from the app I was able to see exactly where my cab was, the driver’s name, photograph and mobile number as well as the cab registration number. This really made me feel secure and confident on whose cab I was getting into. I was then further impressed to receive a phone call from the driver to say that he was ready and waiting for me and where he was parked in case I couldn’t find him.
The journey was a pleasure, my driver – Bryan – was a really friendly guy, exactly how I imagined a London cab driver to be. We chatted for the whole journey which made the journey pass quickly, equally I felt that if I didn’t want to chat I wouldn’t have to. As we arrived at my destination the payment was taken directly from my account, using up the credit I had received. As I left the cab behind me I received an email receipt of my payment.
Your trip history remains on your app until you choose to delete it, giving you the option to make notes on your journey, to report a lost item and to record your trip as Business or Personal which is great if you need to keep such records.
My return trip was just as easy; I hailed the cab using Hailo before I had even left the building, this time my cab was travelling from approximately 2 minutes away. A live map showed me where my cab was and from which direction he was approaching so that I knew where to look for him, as well as his photograph, mobile number and registration number. I received a notification to tell me once my cab had arrived. Great for bad weather, no hanging around in the rain!!
This time I decided to explore the app whilst I was on my journey back to Kings Cross and discovered that a message was received telling me that I was “on board” and then if I looked at the map I could see my virtual self travelling across the map and at a glance how far away I was from my destination. I then switched to Trainline app to see when the next available train was scheduled to leave and discovered that one would be leaving just a few minutes after I was due to arrive at Kings Cross. From the app I could see which platform the train would be leaving from. I eagerly watched my journey on the Hailo app and watched the clock, as I arrived at the Station with only 4 minutes until my train was scheduled to leave I was able to run straight to my platform and made it onto the train with only 1 minute to spare before the doors closed. I was so impressed at how well current technology had aided me on my trip to London and made it as stress-free as possible. In the past I have found trips to London with the children quite daunting and nerve-wracking. For a reason unknown to myself I have lost confidence a little since Jelly Bean was born and was unsure about travelling down to London on that day. The Hailo app really helped to ease my nerves because my journey was seamless, I knew exactly where I was going, how I was going to pay, I didn’t need to mess around with my purse to get out of the cab in a hurry and the drivers were both extremely helpful in getting the pushchair in and out of the cab. I am now a Hailo convert, perhaps I could be more of a city Mum than I ever thought possible!
Arriving back at Peterborough Train Station I was able to collect Beanie Boy and still be back home in time to collect Little Bean from school, not bad eh?!
DISCLAIMER: I received credit to my Hailo Account for the purpose of this post. All words and opinions are my own – I will DEFINITELY be using Hailo in the future!! This work is my own and you may not copy or use it without my permission.