Ride hailing services are apps that connect passengers and local drivers using their personal vehicles. In most cases they are a comfortable method for door-to-door transport. Usually they are cheaper than using licensed taxicabs. In some countries the ride hailing services are regulated in the same way as regular taxicabs. Examples of ride hailing services include Bolt, Lyft and Uber.
Like in taxis, if you have a common language with the driver, a conversation with the driver can in many instances provide you with inside information of the area which might not be written in guidebooks.
The apps used allow the drivers and passengers to rate each other. This compensates to some degree for the lack of company control over the drivers. It may also make drivers eager to be as nice as possible.
Tips for riding a ride hailing service
Consider the alternatives. Public transport may be much cheaper and urban rail is usually faster than driving if it gets you close. In rush hours and during special events driving may be very slow.
Be aware of the fine print and make sure you're aware of what fees you're liable for. Check your bill after the drive. You might be able to contest inflated charges through the company's customer service. Better of course to get it straight at once, with the driver.
Like always when travelling with an unfamiliar driver, sit in the back seat of the vehicle and have at your luggage with you if practical, at least your passport, money and other essentials. That way you are less vulnerable if the driver happens to be a jerk. Note plate numbers.
- If you are staying in a place with good mass transit using it might often work out to be not only cheaper but faster compared to the ride hailing service.
- Walking is a great way to get to know a place and you can simply enter any interesting shops, restaurants or museum you might pass without the driver having to look for (often scarce) inner-city parking space. Many city-centers are entirely walkable; if you aren't carrying heavy luggage and aren't mobility impaired, a two- or three-kilometer stroll is not too hard.
- In more and more places, cycling is the best way to go short to medium distances and several cities around the world have implemented bike-sharing programs that are a great alternative for visitors as well as locals. Bikes are available for rent in many more places.
- You may ask whether your hotel offers pick up and drop off service to and from the airport. This is sometimes free to encourage you to stay at their hotel and more often than not cheaper than a taxi.
- If you are staying in a place where a car is needed for a longer time, or plan to go on a road-trip at your destination, consider renting a car, with or without a driver.