Exploiting taxi services using mobile applications is more and more popular in Prague. Online services allowing the customer to choose the nearest car are provided by several start-ups, classic taxi services and even the “anti-taxi” Uber. Customers do not have to wait for a long time, and they can have a ride according to their needs.
Several taxi services have their own applications, for example AAA Radiotaxi, Modrý Anděl or Nejlevnější taxi. Customers and free drivers are connected by apps like Hopin, Uber, Liftago and – newly – also Taxify.
Thanks to the apps, clients become their own dispatcher, who sees where the car currently is and how to get there. There is no waiting on a busy line, often ending with an announcement that all drivers are too busy.
The customer orders a taxi which is chosen based on its price, distance and car type. The price is usually about 20 CZK per kilometre, while common taxi services cost approximately 28 CZK.
Alternative transport companies also try to attract customers by other means. Some offer, for example, a discount on the first ride or financial motivation to passengers who recommend the service to other clients.
One of the disadvantages of using the mentioned taxi applications is that most of the drivers are concentrated around the historical city centre. It is difficult, for example, to find a free driver from the outskirts of Prague or Prague Airport. In this case, it is much better to book an online transfer with Prague Airport Transfers.
Applications Are Used by Hundreds or Thousands of Taxi Drivers
The Hopin company presently reports two hundred drivers using their app, Liftago. A similar application by AAA Radiotaxi includes eleven hundred drivers.
|Selected taxi prices in Prague|
|AAA Radiotaxi||28, 25 with an app||19,9||6, 4 with an app|
|Modrý Anděl||40||19 to 28||6|
|Nejlevnější Taxi||27||18||3, 4|
|Taxi Praha||30, 27 with an app||23.9 or 18 with an app||4 or 3.4 with an app|
|Profi Taxi||30 or 40||18 to 28||4 or 6|
|Liftago*||25 to 40||approx. 20||3 to 6|
|Hopin*||25 to 40||17 to 20||4 to 6|
|Source: Companies’ price-lists|
|*Liftago and Hopin abide by rates of individual taxi drivers. Price per kilometre is approximate (Liftago); others mean a range of charges|
The internationally-known Uber app does not show these numbers or ride counts. The controversial service provider uses drivers who are in great competition for classic taxis. Uber has caused taxi drivers around the world to protest, and the mobile application is being criticised even by drivers in Prague.
For instance, students or women on maternity leave drive for the company. Drivers have different charges and cars. For price estimation, it is possible to type in the place of boarding and exiting and find out the approximate price using an app.
Dispatching Has Its Benefits, Says Boss of a Taxi Service
Jiří Kvasnička, agent of AAA Radiotaxi – aka the largest taxi service in Prague – reacts to the development of mobile apps by pointing out the benefits of classic dispatching. “Its function is, in my opinion, irreplaceable even for the future, namely for reclaims and other dealings,” he said.
He says that mobile applications have not fully replaced dispatching anywhere in the world. Besides, long-time taxi drivers agree that human dispatchers still provide more rides for them.
According to three-year-old research, there are over seven thousand taxi drivers active in the capital.