10/14/2014 04:34 EDT | Updated 10/14/2014 05:59 EDT

Hailo Taxi App To Close Up Shop In Toronto And Montreal

Bloomberg via Getty Images
A logo sits on the Hailo Network Ltd. taxi app stand during the Apps World Multi-Platform Developer Show in London, U.K., on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013. Retail sales of Internet-connected wearable devices, including watches and eyeglasses, will reach $19 billion by 2018, compared with $1.4 billion this year, Juniper Research said in an Oct. 15 report. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Hailo, the company that allows smartphone users to order and pay for a taxi with their phones, is pulling out of North America, shutting down its Canadian operations in Toronto and Montreal.

"We have ... decided to end our operations in North America, where the astronomical marketing spend required to compete is making profitability for any one player almost impossible," Hailo's co-CEO Tom Barr said in a statement.

The taxi company has operations in many around the world, including Washington, Atlanta, Chicago, Boston, Toronto and Montreal on this side of the Atlantic. Since launching three years ago, the company says it has given rides to 20 million customers around the world.

Taxi services such as Hailo, Lyft and Uber have gained fans by making it easier, cheaper and more convenient to get a taxi, supporters say. But critics say the services are unfair to conventional taxi firms and pose safety issues for drivers and users. 

In a blog post on its website, the Toronto location said, "Hailo Toronto would like to assure its drivers and loyal passengers that we will continue to deliver and support our service for the foreseeable future."

But a spokesman with the parent company says the two Canadian locations will close along with everywhere else in North America. But he said the company remains committed to its European and Asian locations. 

"Everything is closing, yes," spokesman Ashish Prashar said in a telephone interview. "[But] this is not to say we wouldn't revisit coming back to North America once we've built up our base in other parts of the world."

"This has been a difficult decision to make, and we are very sorry for the impact on our colleagues who will leave the company and are doing everything we can to help them with their future careers," Barr said.

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