Using the Bangkok taxis is like playing lottery; you never know how the experience will be. I know, I have had my shares on both sides of the coin. Some times you get the driver who speaks English, takes pride of his line of business and it shows. The car is clean and it smells fresh in the car. He drives carefully and chooses the best route.
Most of the time, however, it’s not like this. The driver (if he first of all chooses to accept you in his precious cab) can be
b) angry at you for missing an intersection
c) takes the scenery route
d) hasn’t showered in days / smells like urine
e) suddenly stops to fill the gas during the trip / stops to take a piss on the roadside
f) overcharges you / gives you wrong change
h) or the worst: drives an accident
The list goes on. I’ve been through all the above and even more… So goes without saying that there would be room for improvement.
Bangkok taxis are very cheap. And unfortunately it shows in the quality of the experience. So what other options are there. BTS Skytrain and MRT Metro are my preferred options. However, they only cover parts of the city, and they stop running at midnight, so unless you are at home that time you need to rely on taxis. Buy a car? I used to drive in Bangkok, and to be honest, I don’t really want to go back to that.
Uber launches operation in Thailand
I was quite excited to read about the phone app Uber to begin their operations in Thailand. Uber offers a private car service in taxi trip manner. The service is reliable, the driver is well dressed and the cars are nice. The cost isn’t that much higher than taking a taxi.
I read about the Thailand launch in a local news site and downloaded the app. They even gave a promo code for a free 300 THB (10 USD) first ride.
Getting started was easy. Just download the app and complete the couple step signup. They offer various payment methods from which I chose PayPal.
The app layout is very nicely done and it looks very high end. Unfortunately there are some bugs that make the user experience less appealing. When requesting a ride the app automatically uses GPS to locate where you are and offers that as the pick up location. Great! When entering the drop off destination the app only offers a search based on foursquare locations. It doesn’t let me pin the drop off location on the map. Well, not a big deal if the street names are logic and you can find it through the search. Anyone who knows Bangkok, knows that this isn’t the case here. I tried several locations where I usually take a taxi and none of them were found through the search. I finally ended up trying the airport (great success!), but the app then said PayPal wasn’t an accepted payment method.
The first time user experience for the app wasn’t that great. I will give it another go though, when I’m flying next time and try payment with credit card. Lets see how that goes.
If you have used the Uber app in Thailand, I would like to hear your comments on the app, and how to overcome the map pinning issue.