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In Bogotá, should you take a Taxi or call Uber?

May 27, 2016

This is a matter of public debate in many countries. Inevitably, this question made its way into Colombia, where Uber has been under fire. Conventional taxi drivers hate it, politicians fear it because taxi drivers hate it, and also because they have a hard time doing the only thing that politicians know how to do: taxing it and over-regulating it.

Still, Uber is here and it’s available. So the question becomes: in Bogotá, should you take a taxi or call Uber? The answer is not simple, and depends on your preferences, so it’s worth a few minutes of your time.

Traditionally, you’d want to support and experience the local taxi service. That makes sense, both as a way to get more deeply involved with the local dynamics, and also as a way to enjoy a service that’s usually very cheap (yes, taxis in Bogotá can be surprisingly cheap). Plus, taxi drivers can provide insights about the city, the economy and the country that you wouldn’t have access to in any other way.

However, getting a taxi anywhere in the city, at any time, can be extremely challenging. Not just because there are many strange unstated rules for getting a taxi in the middle of the street, but also because most of the apparently free taxis will not stop for you. They’ll ignore you, say that they’re not going your way, or that they need to stop to have lunch. Even the most popular app used to safely and efficiently call a taxi will often notify you that there are no taxis available.

 And, as if that was not enough, getting a taxi in the middle of the street can be dangerous, since it can be a fake taxi used by a fake driver who wants to take you to a place where you definitely wouldn’t want to go, not even in a nightmare. Now add to this the fact that, while there is a price table for the taxi service that should make your taxi fare transparently understandable, many taxi drivers will often overcharge you for no reason – and let’s just say that complaining may not be a very good idea (still, they’re cheap even when they overcharge).

On the other hand, you have Uber. Safer, friendlier, more transparent and with a reliable app. Still, not as authentic, and far more expensive. So, ultimately, your choice depends on what you value the most. As for me, I choose a taxi any day of the week. Sure, it comes with its many challenges, but how interesting can life be without them?

Written by: Miggy, check out his site for more from him.

by AI_Bogota. Find out more about AI_Bogota here.