Taking a normal taxi in Vietnam often is an adventurours affair. There are plenty stories about taxis with fake meters that go too fast or taxi drivers who simply drive away without giving back the change. However, the new ride-hailing apps Uber and Grab now offer a great alternative for everybody with a smartphone.
Uber and Grab both entered Vietnam in 2014 and have since won the trust of local passengers, sparking the beginning of a rivalry with conventional taxi firms like Vinasun and Mai Linh. Just like in many other places of the world, the war between conventional taxicab firms and ride-hailing apps shows no signs of stopping. Very similar to other countries the two parties fight about who should pay how many taxes and who gets preferential treatment from the government.
In Ho Chi Minh City alone, the transport department had licensed 24,000 Uber and Grab cars as of September, compared to 11,000 conventional taxis. It is truly mind-boggling how fast the two app-based companies conquered the local market. We have to say, though, it is just so much easier to book an Uber than to wave down a local cab, always fearing that your are somehow being cheated on. It also seems to be cheaper. We used a normal taxi once and it cost us about 80% more than what it would have cost with Uber. While this is just n=1, for us it was enough a reason to continue GRABing an Uber… 🙂