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Transport / Mass transit

General Election 2015: Hailo promises to take Londoners to the polls for free

Despite calls for it to be made a national holiday, most of us don’t get polling day off work. For many, this is just a frustrating missed opportunity for another May bank holiday (three in one month! Imagine!). But to those working several jobs or long hours, it can be a real barrier to voting. 

Luckily, a white knight has appeared in the form of black cab app-hailing company Hailo. They’ve selflessly offered to take any London-based registered voting to their polling station for free between 7 and 8pm on 7 May.

Only up to a point, of course: journeys will be free up to the value of £15, which would get you about three miles or so. Oh, and the whole thing is called the “People’s Cab-inet”, a name so bad it should come with its own peace and reconciliation tribunal. 

Of course, all this isn’t much use for people working between 7 and 8, or those who work far away from their polling station, or anyone who doesn’t have a smartphone. We don’t have solid data on this, but we’ve a sneaking feeling that Hailo users probably had a good chance of voting anyway, and the groups that are less likely to vote – minorities, women, young people, the homeless – may not be swayed by a taxi app promotion. 

The campaign’s press release does note that 9 per cent of those who didn’t vote in the last election said it was because they couldn’t get to their polling station. As company CMO Gary Bramall notes, “That 9 per cent could have made a big difference”. 

But the Survation data he’s quoting from also shows that 27 per cent felt their vote wouldn’t make a difference, a quarter thought politicans are “all the same”, and 19 per cent aren’t interested in politics. It also allowed respondants to choose more than one option, meaning that the 9 per cent wouldn’t necessarily have gone, even if they’d been able to. 

Nevertheless, let’s hope the promotion gets more people to vote, and isn’t just a chance for city workers to skip the tube journey home. Anyone interested should, apparently, book in advance with Hailo’s brand new in-app pre-booking syst- 

Damn. We knew they weren’t just doing it out of the goodness of their hearts. 


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