It’s fair to say that Bangkokians and repeat visitors have developed a love-hate relationship with the taxis in Bangkok. Catching a taxi in the city is really all about luck. Sometimes you’ll hit the jackpot and end up with a driver who plays right by the books, knows his way around the city, and understands basic English.
On the other hand, the chances of you finding a driver who drives like an absolute maniac, has no idea where in the world he’s meant to take you, or tries to scam you in one way or another – the most common is probably the ‘ no meter and set price’ scam – are just as likely. Lucky for us city folks, Bangkok in recent years has been introduced to two amazing startups known as Uber and Grabcar.
Uber and Grabcar – What are they?
Uber and Grabcar are private car services that can be downloaded right onto your mobile phones, and are also in my opinion, total lifesavers. With these two companies, you’ll have safe and professional drivers, good cars, and total peace of mind that you’ll arrive to your destination safe and sound.
Easy to use and efficient, these two applications are a huge hit in Thailand. All you have to do is download the app onto your phone, register an account, put in your credit/debt card details, fill in your pick up and drop off locations, and then wait as your driver makes his way to wherever it is you are. Uber and Grabcar use GPS from within their apps to detect your location, locate the nearest drivers, and enables you to track your route at all times. As a safety precaution, the two services immediately provide you with your driver’s (as well as your car’s) identity before arrival so you can instantly feel at ease about who you are getting into the car with. In addition to that, Uber and Grabcar have a passenger feedback system where you can rate your driver’s on their performance and add in any additional comments you might have on your experience.
Another great feature that both these services offer, and one that riders really love and appreciate, is the ability to be able to pay in either cash or by credit card. You can fill in your credit card details during the registration process, and payments will be automatically taken from your account the moment you arrive at your destination. A detailed receipt for your journey will then be emailed to you at the end of your ride.
Uber Vs. Grabcar
Uber and Grabcar are rather similar in regards to the fact that they are both fantastic private car services providing comfort and luxury to those who require more privacy in their travels than they’d get from a public taxi.
Before Grabcar was launched by Grabtaxi as its Uber-like private car service, Uber was Southeast Asia’s go to app. In terms of instant-transportation booking and service, Uber had the upper hand over Grabtaxi. Uber drivers are more professional and the cars are much cleaner than the Grabtaxis. Now it seems, with Grabcar as an option in the Grab Company, both companies are equally tied in terms of quality of cars and professionalism. Economy and premium cars are available from both Uber and Grabcar.
Uber rates for their economy cars begin with a base fare of 25 baht, with an additional 1 baht cost per minute, 4.5 baht cost per km, and a 45 baht cancellation fee. For their premium cars, Uber charges a 50 baht base fare, 2.5 baht per minute, 14 baht per km, and a 75 baht cancellation fee. Flat fares from your pick up location to the airports are 500 baht for economy, and 1000 for premium – excluding toll fares.
As for Grabcar, their economy vehicles come with a 30 baht base fare, plus 9 baht per km, and 150 baht if heading to the airport; for premium, charges start at a base of 75 baht with an additional 15 baht per km, and an extra 150 baht for airport fees.
You can’t go wrong when choosing Uber or Grabcar over a regular taxi. Both services are of high international standards, and the prices you are paying for this level of quality and professionalism is just incredible. They pose less of a hassle than a typical public taxi, and often times, can turn out to be cheaper. If you’re having a difficult time deciding which service to go with, then just take a quick look over at the prices and go with the one better suited to your budget. Either way, if you’re ever in the city and are in need of a quick and efficient mode of private transport, both Uber and Grabcar come highly recommended among us Bangkokians.