Rideshare and taxi apps


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Rideshare and taxi apps

a smartphone with a taxi on the screen

What's coming up?

In this activity you’ll learn about apps that help you get going right away, when you’re ready to leave. They include apps that let you use rideshare services, as well as apps to help book a taxi.

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Apps have changed how you catch a taxi

Instead of having to stand on a street corner and hail a cab, or call on the phone and wait on hold, you can now use an app to book a ride easily and conveniently.

a smartphone with the 13cabs app on it
a range of rideshare app icons

Alternative services to taxis

There are now apps that help you get a ride from a service that isn’t a taxi. These are called rideshare services, and one of the most popular is Uber. Others include Didi and OLA. You can get the apps for these services in your device’s official app store.

How rideshare services work

A rideshare service such as Uber connects private car owners with passengers. The driver and the passenger both use the same app. The passenger sets up an account with their credit card and uses the app to book and pay for a trip up front. The trip is offered to registered drivers in the area, and a driver can accept the trip and come and pick you up.

a car, the uber app and a person
the uber interface

How rideshare services work (cont’d)

When your trip is accepted by a driver, the app will show you information about them, including their picture and a description of their car, including the make and the number plate. As the trip is pre-paid, you don’t need to give the driver any money once you arrive at your destination. After the trip, you can rate the driver’s service out of five stars.

It’s important to give five-star ratings

Five-star ratings aren’t for exemplary service, they are for the expected level of service. If there were no problems with your trip, you should give a driver a five-star rating. This means they will continue to be offered work, and overall, this helps the rideshare service operate smoothly. Once the trip is over, the driver also assigns you a rating.

rating the driver and adding a small tip
a locked padlock

eSafety tip

Rideshare services use drivers who have normal driver licences and normal cars. Drivers must pass a police background check, but they don’t have the special accreditation that taxi drivers have, and neither do their vehicles have special licence plates. You should only use rideshare services like Uber and DiDi if you are comfortable with the way these services work.

the 13cabs app

Taxis have apps too

You can also book a traditional taxi using an app. Not all taxi services have apps, so you may not be able to use your preferred taxi company. The taxi company 13Cabs has an app, and it works very similarly to Uber. You can choose the type of cab (including wagon and wheelchair-accessible) and book and pay for your trip before the taxi arrives.

The downside of rideshare apps

One important downside of rideshare apps like Uber is that they use a system called surge pricing. This means that in periods of peak demand, trips cost more. This can be hard to predict, but it can happen during events like football matches (when crowds are leaving a stadium), or during peak arrival and departure times at airports.

surge pricing on the uber app
additional costs for taxis

The downside of taxis

Taxis don’t have surge pricing, but fares are more expensive during peak hours. Some taxi companies also charge extra if you cross boundaries between suburbs, and it can be hard to know when this happens. Finally, taxis sometimes add a surcharge if you pay with a credit card.

Using an app helps you control costs

The biggest benefit to using an app to book a taxi or rideshare is that the app will tell you the cost of the fare before you make the booking. Most also require you to pay in advance, so there are no unexpected costs. Another benefit is that apps let you book ahead and set a time for when you’d like to be picked up.

rideshare apps a clock and a dollar sign

Well done!

This is the end of the Rideshare and taxi apps activity. You’ve learned about useful apps for booking a taxi and for using rideshare services, and how these can make trips easier and costs more transparent.

Up next, in the Timetable and public transport apps activity, you can find out how apps can help you plan timetabled journeys on public transport.

a smartphone with the 13cabs app