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Uber, GrabTaxi, Or Regular Taxi

Deciding how to get somewhere in Bangkok will often be the hardest part of your night. Cab it? Use some kind of BTS and Motorcycle-taxi combo? Use a ride app? You have to figure in costs, times, traffic and more.



Uber was found in San Francisco in 2010 and has fought long, hard battles to stay in business. It’s basically a private car service that you can call with a smartphone app using GPS location. There was a lot of skepticism when it launched in Bangkok a few months ago but so far it seems to be tearing up the social media as it irons out the kinks during its first few months – not uncommon for a new service in a new market.

The good thing about Uber is that you don’t have to use cash. They have your credit card and when you get to your destination you say thanks, step out and you’re done.
Ubers always use nice cars, (new and clean cars) and provide a smoothe ride.
After you finish placing your order, you get a phone call from the driver about 15 seconds later to confirming your location and giving you an ETA. You get the license plate number, a picture of the driver, his rating from other costumers. And of course, you can follow the progress of your car on the map on your phone. It is all very slick.

Costwise, Uber is quite pricey compared to normal cabs.

Now on to GrabTaxi.

GrabTaxi is a smartphone- based taxi booking and dispatching service that was founded in Malaysia a few years ago. Their vision is to revamp the Thai taxi industry, by making it safer and much more efficient. In means of a transport that everyone can be proud of. GrabTaxi tries to improve the way that passengers hail taxi drivers on the road and the way that taxi drivers look out for passengers. Instead of having its own private fleet of cars, it uses the existing taxi network to source its rides. 

The app works in a much same way as the Uber app.

Regular Taxi (Taxi-Meter)

The fare starts at 35 THB and stays there for the first two kilometers. Thereafter, the fare gradually works its way up with 2 THB at a time (roughly per kilometer). A surcharge applies in traffic jams (1.25 THB/meter when moving under 6 km/hour). Typical taxi fares for going a few kilometers are around 50 THB. Communication can be a problem with the majority of Bangkok’s taxi drivers as they often speak little English. Improvise, and be imaginative.

In a country like Thailand, where traffic is pretty congested during daytime hours, people spend approximately 25 minutes to travel five kilometers in the city center. For these situations, it’s better to take Uber over Grab and taxi. The prices were: THB74, THB77, and THB103, respectively.

However, the best choice changes when traveling 20 kilometers from the city center to a suburb area. In these cases, people spend approximately 40 minutes in a car. Thus, Uber was still the cheapest choice for the fare while the cab was the second choice and Grab came in as the most expensive. The fares for the long ride were: THB159, THB210, and THB216, respectively.

Aside from the price, Thai people tend to like Grab and Uber since the services will pick you up at your door. Riders can review the drivers and, unlike taxi drivers, they don’t turn down fares once you are already at the car door.

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