Taxify vs Uber in South Africa

A review of the Taxify vs Uber services in South Africa, and how they differ.

Taxify vs UberNote: This post is not sponsored. I just wanted to share my thoughts.

A little-known fact about me is that I don’t drive. I’m a fully-grown adult and while I can drive, I don’t have my license. I know some people find it insane, but I’ve never had the urge to be a driver and I’ve never had the need to do so. Before I worked from home with Inkfish Digital, I used public transport to and from town. Easy, peasy.

Of course, there are times when I need to get around (to blog events, coffee dates, or shopping trips) without the help of public transport and when my darling husband is at work. It’s moments like that when the Taxify and Uber services are my best friends. In fact, it’s become a family joke that I’ll request an Uber at the drop of a hat.

While Uber is the most popular taxi choice at the moment, there’s another service that is starting to make a name for itself in South Africa, and in my case, Cape Town. Taxify is still fairly new here in South Africa, but it’s quickly growing in popularity. I’ve used both of these services and I’ve decided to chat about them both in the post below.

Uber

Uber app

Note: These are random locations. Sorry, no stalking here! Also – images were correct at the time of publication.

App: Sleek and easy to use, the Uber app is a delight to use. Once you’ve opened the app, you can choose whether you’d like to use the UberX, UberXL, or UberBLACK service.

You can access the Help section which answers pretty much any question you might have without having to leave the application. The app also allows you to see previous trips via the History option. Rate each trip once you’re done and you can also raise any issues with a particular trip from inside the app.

Services: I mentioned before that you can choose between UberX, UberXL, or UberBLACK. Each of these services has their own cost and you’ll be picked up by different kinds of vehicles. Uber has special services that run randomly such as UberEATS, but you’ll need to keep an eye on their social media channels for more info.

  • UberX is the cheapest option and the cars can vary. Besides the cost, UberX is a great option due to the vast amount of cars on the road.
  • UberXL is for larger groups wanting to travel together, up to 6 people. The vehicles are often SUVs such as Toyota Highlanders or Ford Explorers.
  • UberBLACK is for the fancy rider! I’ve been in an UberBLACK once after winning a competition and the cars are beautiful. Obviously the price of the ride is affected by this too.

Cost for the UberX Service: Uber charges a base fare of R5, a cost of R7 per km applies, a minimum ride will cost R20, and there’s a cancellation fee of R25. The costs can vary slightly from city to city, but these are currently the fares for Cape Town.

Free Uber Ride: If you want to try Uber for the first time, download the app on your iPhone, Android, or Windows Phone. Use the code re8qg and you’ll receive your first ride up to R100 for free!
UberEATS: The food delivery service by Uber is now live in South Africa too! You can use my code eats-re8qg to receive R50 off of your first 2 orders!

Taxify

Taxify South Africa

App: Much like the Uber app, the Taxify app is easy to use and you have many of the same functions. You can get a fare estimate, order a ride, see your ride history, and rate your ride. My favourite feature of the Taxify app is that once you’ve ordered your ride, you can message your driver.

When using the Uber app, the only way to communicate with your driver is by calling them through the app. However, if you’re like me and you hate talking on the phone, messaging the driver any details they need to know is much easier. It’s a great feature and definitely something that Uber should implement.

Services: Taxify has only one service on offer and that means that you only have one price to pay. However, many drivers who work for Uber also work for Taxify. That means if you order a Taxify ride, you may just land an UberBLACK car like I did, plus there’s no extra cost! While Taxify is still growing as a service, there may not be as many vehicles on the road, so the wait can be a little longer.

Cost: The minimum fare in South Africa is R20 per ride and the cost per km is only R7. The base fare is R5.

*UPDATE* Taxify is now available in Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Durban as of the 9th of December 2016!
Free Taxify Ride: Keen to try this new taxi service? Download the app on your iPhone, Android, or Windows Phone. Use the special code ROBYNVA7 and you’ll receive R100 off your first ride!

And the winner is… Honestly, the Taxify and Uber services are so similar that it comes down to the smallest details about which company I prefer. While I do love Uber, the messaging feature, friendly drivers, and the fact that I love supporting small businesses means that I now choose Taxify as my go-to ride every time.

What do you think? Do you make use of taxi services or do you prefer to be behind the wheel? Tell me about it below.

18 comments

  1. Given the recent spate of attacks and horrifying incidents involving these services…how do they compare in terms of safety. And what is the modus operandi if I as patron find myself in a dangerous situation. The app should have an emergency button of some kind. I am not sure I could trust either right now after reading the events of recent past. Just my view

    • Hi Natasha!

      The thing with those attacks are that they weren’t real Ubers. When you order your Uber or Taxify, you’re provided with a license plate number and a photo of the driver. It’s important that you check that the number plate is correct before climbing into any vehicle.

      Once in the vehicle you also have the choice of sending your ETA to someone which is great. You send through a link and when that person clicks the link on their side, they can see how long the trip should take you and where you are via Google Maps. It just adds that extra peace of mind. I always send my ETA to the person I’m visiting or to my husband if it’s a business meeting.

      It’s all about being wise and making sure that you’re covered in all situations. Maybe for some that would mean carrying pepper spray or something, but thankfully, I’ve never had any issues with these services.

  2. Uber claims to be growing here in Nigeria and despite the confusions with partners and drivers over selfish behaviours on funds. The “No bosses” part would send Uber packing because that’s the killer competition.

  3. I forgot to mention, Taxify has promised to start early November in Lagos, Nigeria and we are all signed up and ready to switch!

  4. Uber now typically takes 25% of the fee. An outrageous amount for an app that could be written in a week. That alone makes me dislike uber. Taxify currently take 8%. That’s a massive difference. I think supporting the hard working (typically very long hours) driver by giving them a better percentage is a worthy motivation.

    • I totally agree, Rob! After speaking to many Taxify drivers who were previously Uber drivers and hearing the issues they’ve had with Uber makes me happy to support Taxify even more.

      • Hey Robyn! The obvious thing is for drivers to drive for both (and others) and for us citizens to insure the law doesn’t prevent them doing so. I haven’t looked into the technical details but I suspect a phone (or SIM card) can only be online to one of the apps at a time(?) But there are ways of juggling (2 SIMs?) which would benefit drivers and passengers alike.

        When Uber used to take 20% of the fee I considered it unreasonably high. That they’ve glibly increased this to 25% (for all new drivers and many existing drivers) in an already profitable sector of their business (South Africa) is opportunistic* in a way that doesn’t win friends**. I hope Uber take heed of ** and sort out *, capitalism doing its thing. Yes, Uber are on a big spending spree around the world and aren’t as cash positive as they’d like to be but their greed will trip them up in a market in which it will always be easy to compete. This isn’t Facebook for social media, nor Google for searching, it isn’t a case of winner takes all. There will always be others, like Lyft and Taxify, champing at their heels, ready to pounce.

        Consider that Airbnb charge 3%. Could they get away with charging more? Sure. But no-one cares to fight them nor dislike them at 3%.

        PS. I should correct my Taxify figure of 8% above. I have since heard and read several percentages for Taxify ranging from 8% to 15%. The last guy to mention 8% to me was an Uber driver who had just given me a lift. He said the 25% was outrageous then showed me the Taxify app on his phone (which was the first I’d seen of it locally, so, interesting marketing!) He said he was far happier driving for Taxify but is clearly also relying on Uber.

        finally: I have no financial interest in Uber. (Though I’d quite like to short them when they list next year!) I love how they have improved taxi options in SA. But what they’ve done is written an app that would have been written a thousand times over if they hadn’t got it in first. No rocket science. They have been aggressive in good and bad ways but their attitude and greed has given me some degree of schadenfreude as I watch the competition rise largely partially competing with simple decency.

  5. Uber dominance in the metered taxi business need a strong and healthy competition, if this goes unchecked, many people will suffer. I wish Taxify and Oga taxi conveyor with some kind of innovations.

  6. Something else to consider – with Uber, if you are a fnb client, you earn ebucks on all your trips… maybe not a draw card for those who don’t frequently use a taxi service. But it all adds up

  7. I have decided to quit uber after two years of being their loyal customer.Yesterday I requested a ride from Northgate Mall to my house,i phoned the driver to give him the location of pickup.After waiting for more than 4 minutes after speaking to the driver i called the driver to find out as to what’s taking him long to arrive he told me that he was waiting at the parking at a location i did not confirm or request later the driver phoned to tell me to cancel the trip and request another ride,i told him to cancel it himself he did not so I had to to cancel and i was charged R25 for cancelled trip.

    • The cancellation situation is always tricky. If I were you, I would contact Uber and let them know what happened to have your R25 refunded. If it’s not you fault, you shouldn’t pay!

  8. I used to prefer Taxify over Uber in Kenya but once I had an issue with a Taxify driver and he left us on the side of the road past midnight after an hour long argument over nothing and there was no option to report the driver….I got through to them but they did nothing about this complaint. Uber is usually really stricked about those kind of things

    • It’s unfortunate, but there are so many stories around the world about issues like this. I think it’s always a risk when entrusting strangers to do their jobs.

  9. In your analysis you don’t mention that taxify gives you only a quote, at the end of your trip, the fare is usually higher. With Uber, the price you see is the price you pay

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