10 Oct RideGuru: A Top Taxi Fare Comparison Tool
We travel on a budget and we’re always looking for a bargain. That’s why we love it when we discover tools that help us find the cheapest travel options. Need to book a low-cost flight? We scour the market months in advance using our favourite flight comparison tools. Looking for comfy, budget hotels? We turn to our favourite umbrella site to compare options. Now, there’s a new tool in town to help us find the cheapest, most ethical taxi and rideshare fares: RideGuru.
Andrew and I started regularly using taxis when we first touched down in Asia back in 2013. We had well and truly thrown ourselves in the deep end up by arriving in the chaotic capital city, Jakarta. We were welcomed by cries of: “Mister! Taxi!” the most traffic-choked streets I had ever seen (this was before we’d witnessed Vietnam’s motorbike madness) and a distinct lack of traffic lights, pavements and pedestrian crossings. All things considered, it seemed sensible to hail a taxi.
“Where you going?” asked the driver, a wily glint in his eye. We showed him the address of our lodgings and he nodded thoughtfully before quoting us a fixed price for the journey. It was late and we were tired and disorientated, so we readily agreed. It was only when we collapsed into the car that we saw the meter and realised we’d probably been grossly overcharged. This is a common theme in Asia and one we quickly grew wise to. Nowadays, we always immediately ask the driver to use the meter and if he refuses, we walk away.
Back in Indonesia we quickly discovered that there was only one taxi company we could rely on to use the meter: Blue Bird. Now, the other taxi drivers know this, and they don’t like it. Take the day that we needed a ride back to our guesthouse from a secluded beach in Bali, for instance. The local drivers were involved in a taxi racket whereby they’d threaten any Blue Bird taxis who dared enter the area, forcing tourists to pay their extortionate rates instead. Infuriated, we took off on foot in the sweltering heat and walked for miles until we found a metered ride. Getting a taxi really shouldn’t be such hard work!
What we would have given back then to be able to simply pull out our phone, find a list of all the local taxi companies, compare prices and hail a car. These days, of course, there are plenty of handy ridehail services to make life easier. Last year in New York City we tested out Uber for the first time and it was pretty simple. However, we had no way of comparing Uber’s rates with local taxi firms and we also wondered how much of our fare was actually going to the driver. So, we were interested to hear from the guys at RideGuru who have created a free, independent ride comparison tool.
How does RideGuru work?
All you have to do is enter the details of your journey and RideGuru will compare rates in real-time from 13 major ridehail services including Uber, Lyft, Curb, Ola and Didi Kauidi. The site uses a special algorithm which takes into account the distance and duration of your journey, traffic patterns, urban density and driving speeds. You’ll get a list of fare rates from different ridehail companies to compare and once you’ve chosen, all you have to do is click a button to actually order the ride.
RideGuru works in over 70 countries; we can use it here in Chiang Mai and it’s even available in that rogue taxi land, Indonesia. As freelance workers, we hate being charged horrendous fees from companies who supply us with clients, so what we particularly like about RideGuru is that it shows you how much money your driver will receive from the fare and how much goes into corporate pockets.
I feel that the RideGuru tool will be really useful when we travel in Europe and the USA again, but we’ll also be using it during our visa run to Penang in Malaysia next month. After years of trying to save money by searching for local buses when we get off a long flight, weary and confused, these days we prefer to slip into a taxi and head straight for our hotel, which is what we plan to do in Penang. Do you have any crazy taxi tales to share? Do you like the sound of RideGuru?