Grabtaxi review, the best app to grab a taxi in Thailand
There are several apps out there to grab a taxi in Bangkok, but so far GrabTaxi gets most of the love. But how does it work? Is it good?
We have tried it lots of times over the past months to tell you how it works and if it is as good as it seems. If you ever wondered about it but never dared to try it, check our review bellow.
How does it work
Certainly this app didn’t reinvent the wheel, and that is just fine. The process is quite straightforward. First, you need to register with your phone number. In contrast to Uber, you don’t need to use any credit card information, as you pay directly to the taxi driver when the ride is over.
The next step to book a taxi is to select the origin and destination. To help you with the process, the app shows results from Google places and Foursquare, which is quite handy. You can also drop the pointer in the map to get suggestions.
When you confirm the ride, the map shows you the location of the taxis in the neighborhood, and the race begins. You can see in front of your eyes how the taxi drivers accept or decline your journey (the icons of their taxis turn red or green). After some seconds, the system picks up the driver closer to you from those who accepted.
GrabTaxi has a 25 THB service fee over the metered fee. When you reach the destination you just need to pay to the taxi driver the amount stated on the meter plus the 25 THB, unless you used any promotion.
One of the main strengths of GrabTaxi is the technology. The app is very well designed, it’s easy to use and it just works. This becomes more evident when you compare it with the app of competitors like All Thai Taxi (ok, this is still in early development) or Easy Taxi.
The technology behind the location search, with autocomplete, is a great help in a country where the addresses are never accurate, with a different alphabet and different spellings for the same place.
Another benefit of GrabTaxi is the constant promotions and discounts, which usually mean you can use the service for no fee or even with some discount over the meter. These promotions are so constant that we have created an article to gather the latest promo codes.
GrabTaxi also gives you the option to share your ride with your friends or family. They will be able to track your location remotely and know exactly when you will arrive.
The worst part of GrabTaxi is not really its fault, but a consequence of a serie of circumstances with a difficult solution, if any.
First, with the almost non-existent urban planning of Bangkok, the accuracy of the map here is way worse than on other countries. Google Maps – or others – have a faulty or non-existent registry of street numbers, and there goes your chance to locate your house precisely.
This has an impact on the experience, as you will often have to use an approximate location unless you are in a well-known place like a hotel or any other business listed in the search results. The taxi driver will then need to call you to ask for directions, which can be a problem if you don’t speak Thai, or he doesn’t speak English.
Even when you can communicate with the driver, if you use GrabTaxi often from a “difficult location” – let’s say, in the middle of a Soi – it can be really tiresome to explain the directions over and over again, every time.
All in all, we can say GrabTaxi is for now, and by far, the best option to get a taxi on-demand in Bangkok. Surely it has its flaws, and it still has room for improvement, but somehow it managed to work reasonably fine in a crazily managed place like Thailand.
Considering the difficulty of the language and the lack of a proper street number registry, it works pretty well. If you ever need a taxi, give it a try.