Passengers of today, especially in Prague, have the choice of three passenger transport services. Of course, except for the classical taxi airport transfer companies. We have prepared a simple comparison for Uber (specifically UberPOP), Liftago and Bolt.
First, we briefly present all the services, in common, they mainly use modern technology and mobile applications to facilitate the whole process of passenger transportation. You can simply order a car, enter a pickup location and a destination address and pay by cash or by credit card. You do not have to communicate with the driver because he sees everything in his application.
Uber is an alternative to a taxi service, where it can be a regular driver, who does not have to be a “professional” taxi driver with concession and entitlement. Startup originated in San Francisco now has over 1 billion users worldwide. Since 2014, Uber is also available in Prague, in February 2017 Uber was launched in Brno, but in July 2017 it was banned by the court. The service is very popular often used by the Czechs.
Liftago acts as a platform for “standard” taxi drivers that connect passengers and taxi drivers who have all the legal rights to provide taxi services. Basically, this is a replacement for a taxi dispatcher through a mobile application. Liftago has been operating in Prague since 2013 and has gradually spread to other cities in the Czech Republic, recently, for example, into Ostrava.
Bolt is based on the same principle as Uber (anyone with a valid driver’s license). Startup originally from Estonia is trying to target especially the European markets. It only operates in Prague from 2015 and tries to compete with other competitors with an aggressive pricing policy.
Price list and payment
Due to the nature of the services where Uber and Bolt drivers can be “amateurs” (without a taxi concession), they are considerably cheaper in comparison to Liftago and other taxi companies. There is also a way of calculating the price at which Uber and Bolt use fares per kilometer and minute, while Liftago only uses fare per kilometer. For example, if you are stuck in a jam, driving costs at Liftago remains the same as driving time is not accounted for. The cost of the Liftago is determined by the offer of each driver (not the platform, but the driver himself). Prices can be from CZK 16 per kilometer to CZK 36. We use 20 CZK, which is the most frequent offer in Prague. The big drawback of Uber and Bolt is the application of so-called “peaks,” when prices at a time when demand is high (typically in the morning and in the evening, especially on Fridays and Saturdays) increase significantly. Sometimes even more than double. When it comes to Liftago, prices are always the same.
Unfortunately, in connection with the lower cost per ride at Uber and Bolt, it is also possible to encounter an increasing number of bad drivers, who are absolutely unfamiliar with the Prague and their style of driving appears to be straight out of the driving school. As far as the quality of the drivers is concerned, Liftago is a clear winner, where you will usually meet a person who has been driving for a living for several years and driving is his main occupation. Additionally, you can choose Liftago driver yourself, so the driver is not automatically assigned to you.
Of course, Uber and Bolt have better drivers for Uber Select, Uber Black or Bolt Premium, but you will pay extra for them.
All services offer a rating of the drivers that passengers see in advance. Drivers with poor ratings are then largely excluded from service.
Vehicles and availability
Vehicle comparison is a subjective matter, and basically, for every service, you will come across new high-quality cars, as well as older cars with dubious driving characteristics. The advantage of Liftago is that you can choose your car according to the driver’s offer.
At Uber, and Bolt, you will occasionally come up with an older dirty car that you cannot refuse. Even though under the conditions, cars may not be 12 years or older.
That’s why we generally recommend using Uber Select, Uber Black and Bolt Premium if you want to be confident of a representative car. On the other hand, we know from our own experience that UberPOP driver will occasionally come to pick you up in cars including the Tesla Model S, the Audi A6, the Mercedes E class, and other higher-to-high-end cars.
As far as availability is concerned, all services now have a well-covered demand for Prague, perhaps except Friday and Saturday peaks.
Customer support and contact
Unfortunately, none of the companies has a telephone support line that can be used to address the problems and complaints. They aim to resolve everything through the application. But this may sometimes be a problem, especially if you forget the phone in the car.
Uber and Liftago use pre-selected situations from which the customer chooses and receives the reply via e-mail. Bolt is friendlier and offers the direct conversation with support, but the average response time is 2 days.
For all services, you can also use Facebook’s official profiles for contact, where every company responds quite promptly and of course in the Czech language
Conclusion – Who is the best?
It depends. If you want to save, use Uber, which is simply better in direct comparison with Bolt. But if you want quality and do not mind a higher price, then choose Liftago. But on the other hand, both Uber and Bolt offer higher quality services at higher prices.
From our own experience, we alternately use all three services, out of peak Uber, most of evenings Bolt, because Uber has a peak and Liftago is busy and on a trip to dinner or the theater – Liftago alternatively Modry Andel or AAA Taxi. For the transport to or from the airport, Prague Airport Transfers offer on pre-booking service for peace of mind when on time arrival is important.
We will be pleased if you could share your experience and the reasons why the service you are using is the best.