The emergence of apps like Didi Dache has been controversial – we’ve all noticed the increasing amounts of taxis on ‘pause’ driving past, looking for customers they connected with on the app. And then there’s Uber, which you probably have a bunch of friends raving about, creating office rifts; “really?! You think Uber is better than Didi Dache?!”
In case you missed out on all the action, are new to Beijing, or are looking to for once and all settle the debate, this is the Didi Dache and Uber comparison guide. For proper results, your faithful editor, yours truly, went to Wangjing SOHO from the Beijinger mansion, using Didi Dache on the way there, and Uber on the way back.
To get on Didi Dache (嘀嘀打车), download the app from whichever app store is supported by your phone. Once bagged, it'll looks like this:
You’ll have to enter your phone number for verification, and then they will send you a code to enter. That’s all you have to do to set up your account. You’ll then see a little map with a blue dot indicating your location:
To call a car, either enter your destination in the little space (in Chinese), or press the microphone to record speak and share your current location and also your desired destination. You then press the confirm (预约) button on the right. Once pressed, it will all come up on a map, and you can select whether or not to add RMB 3 or RMB 5 to your booking, in order to entice cabbies (because when it gets busier they will not come for just the cab fare, those greedy bastards).
Once you’ve selected your bait, all you have to do is press the big orange button at the bottom, and wait for a driver to take the job, after which you’ll get a name, the driver's star rating, and license plate number (at the top). Beware non-Chinese speakers: the driver may call you up to check whether you really are where the blue dot indicates you are.
Then, all you have to do is wait for him to arrive, get in (it's the details that count), and then he will turn on the meter as normal and you can pay in cash.
Total cost: RMB 31.4
Total distance: 10.2 km
Total time: 19 minutes
You’ll have to sign up with either your Alipay account, or with a Visa/Mastercard debit card. Surprisingly, it works to run the Beijing version of Uber on a British HSBC Bank Account, which is awesome. After doing this, you’ll see the main screen, which is easy to navigate as everything is in English, but basically you move the pin around to indicate where you are, and then you press "set pickup location".
Once you've confirmed your location, a driver should agree to collect you pretty quickly, and you'll be able to see his name, photo, rating, and license plate number. He may then also call to confirm, but he can also see where you've placed your position.
Once you get in, the driver presses a button, and then the fare is automatically calculated when you get out. The money will be deducted from your card. Simple.
Total cost: RMB 25.8
Total distance: 11.3 km (7 miles)
Total time: 35 minutes
Although one would expect normal taxis to be cheaper, the Uber car actually cost less regardless of the fact that the time of the ride was longer and the distance was slightly further.
However, Uber does tend to raise their tariffs (1.2 times the normal price, 1.4 times the normal price, or even 2.0 times the normal price) depending on traffic and demand. Their logic is that if you pay twice as much, more drivers will get on the road and the shortage of cars is solved. In reality this means you’ll be paying more around 8-10am and 4-7pm, and sometimes late at night too.
As for drivers, literally anyone can drive an Uber, and it seems like anyone can be a Beijing cabbie too. Worst experiences with licensed cabbies include refusing to take me to my final location (even though this location was agreed on before) versus and an Uber driver 'forgetting' to press the button that signifies that you have arrived at your location, thus racking up the fare a little bit more. As for best experiences, there are plenty of lovely cabbies and Uber drivers out there, you just need to get a little bit lucky.
Images: wsj.net, Didi Dache, Uber
Visit the original source and full text: the Beijinger Blog