Get around this festive with either Uber, Taxify , Ryda, SnappCab or Unicab.
Uber has disrupted the taxi industry across the world, letting you order a taxi, private car or rideshare directly from your mobile phone. Once you’ve downloaded the Uber app to your phone and linked your credit card, you’ll never have to use cash to pay for a taxi again.
Through the app, you can request a taxi at the touch of a button. The nearest Uber taxi will respond and you’ll be picked up, usually within minutes. You can choose different types of cars: Uber X for ‘normal’ cars, Uber XL for larger cars, and Uber Black for luxury vehicles.
You can see exactly where the taxi is via the app, and there is also a photograph of the taxi driver so that you can easily identify him or her. It’s an extremely convenient service and is available in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and, most recently, Port Elizabeth. The app is available for Android and iOS.
One slightly irritating Uber feature is surge pricing, which is introduced when there is a shortage of cars on the road and demand is high. Expect to pay more during busy times like Saturday nights and especially on New Year’s eve.
Launched this year in Johannesburg, international taxi app Taxify works very much like Uber, but the difference is that Taxify is merely a link between customers and licensed taxis.
‘Taxify is not a taxi company; we connect taxi users with taxis. We only do business with legally registered taxi companies and drivers who have valid PDP licenses, taxi permits and paying passenger insurance,’ said Trevor Joseph, CEO of Revnetek SA, on the launch of Taxify in South Africa.
Through the app, you can select your pick-up point and request the closest taxi. Unlike Uber, you can pay cash. The app is available for Android and iOS. It’s only available in Johannesburg at the moment.
This locally developed mobile platform works in very much the same way as Uber and Taxify. But it has a few twists. As well as a taxi on demand service that connects you to a metered taxi, you can also choose a Cabs for Women and Take Me Home option.
With Cabs for Women, female passengers can request a female driver for added peace of mind, while Take Me Home lets you request a driver to fetch you and drive your car home if you’ve had too much to drink.
Ryda is currently only available in Joburg.
Currently only available in Johannesburg, SnappCab works with specific taxi organisations: Rainbow Cabs, Citycab SA and Zebra Cabs. Just like Uber and Taxify, you can set your pick-up location on the app or online and the closest taxi will respond.
You can create group accounts for family and friends or for your business. When you pay with a credit card you’ll earn SnappMiles, but you can also choose to pay with cash. The app is available for Android, BlackBerry and iOS.
For Capetonians, Unicab’s mobile app connects you to its registered fleet, catering for individuals and groups. The taxis are on call 24/7 and you have the option to pre-book a taxi or search for the closest taxi. You can pay via card or with cash.