Hailo – the new app that helps you catch public transport if you’ve got disabilities


There are around 4 million Australians with various disabilities. For them, using public transport can be extremely challenging. Is the bus going to arrive when you think it will? If you’re blind, how do you know if the bus stops at the right spot so you can get off?

Now, thanks to a meeting of minds and technology, there’s an app that can make the whole public transport experience much easier.

The app is called Hailo, and it can help its users contribute to greater sustainability by linking the public transport system that’s available in their area or their potential commute – which can help open up job opportunities for them.

The app enhances communication between commuters, bus drivers, and other public transportation workers.

It allows users to access real-time data of a bus or train’s whereabouts through the vehicle’s internal GPS tracking – a system that’s proved to be much more accurate than estimations based on satellite signals used by most other tracking apps.

Hailo lets users notify drivers of a specific bus that they want to get on and it can tell the driver of their accessibility needs and what stop they intend to get off at.

The idea was co-developed by sustainability consultant Jonathan Dalton and blind electrical engineer Santiago Velasquez, after the two met at an innovation boot camp – where the two shared gripes about the state’s poorly designed transport system.

Santiago, who has lived with 2 per cent vision his entire life, said Hailo will make his life much easier.

“For me to travel on public transport, I need to do a lot of planning, and even then, there’s no guarantee that the bus will stop for me, and there’s no real way of knowing when to get off the bus.”

Hailo takes out the guesswork and the uncertainty, he said.

Jonathan is fully sighted, yet he has experienced similar inconsistencies in his use of public transport.

The app, he said, will encourage more commuting but also increase employment opportunities for the 4 million Australians diagnosed with disabilities.

The app development had been supported by Queensland University of Technology’s Associate Professor Wayne Kelly and the pilot of the app was supported by a donation from the Snow Foundation. Those interested in joining the pilot can do so via the company’s link below.


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