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GrabTaxi is coming to Chiang Rai

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For many passengers in Southeast Asia, including Bangkok, getting a taxi that is reliable and safe can be a challenge sometimes. But this issue is not for taxis in Chiang Rai, because we have one of the very safe and reliable taxi service in the country, at least to our experience.

We’ve written about taxi services in Chian Rai for about 3-4 articles. As mentioned in previous articles, Chiang Rai has metered taxi service since 2012. This provide a better way of communications to travelers even to the locals. In our opinion, metered taxi service in Chiang Rai is probably one of the best things that happened in Chiang Rai past few years.

Now there is another great news, GrabTaxi is coming to town. In fact, it is already here since the beginning of March but not many people know about it. Now it is giving a promotion or discount from 14-26 March, and especially on 26 March, you probably have a ride for free as it giving 80 Baht discount on that day. Also from 27 March to 9 April, it is giving additional discount. Let’s read the company announcement below.


The company has released advertising as below.

On the 26th of March 2015 from 6:00 – 20:00, we will randomly pick one taxi to drive around Chiang-Rai and Mae Fah Luang University to give a free service for every passenger passing by! Just booked your taxi with GrabTaxi application or grab one on the road and you can be the lucky winner of the day. Received an additional 100 Baht discount code for your next ride if you got into the right taxi! The code can be used for 2 times per one user from the period of 27 March – 9 April 2015. We’re pretty sure no one is that generous!

What is GrabTaxi?
GrabTaxi started in Malaysia in 2011, where it is known as MyTeksi, and has been expanding across Southeast Asia recently as GrabTaxi. Its initial business offering competes with Easy Taxi,  tying up with taxi drivers to get them on the app so customers can book a cab via the GrabTaxi app. According to, it’s the largest taxi app in Southeast Asia as of now.

Many people know that Uber is now the world’s largest app service with funding from investors including Google Ventures, valuing it at a whopping $18.2 billion. While Uber focuses on its luxury car services, GrabTaxi differentiates by closely examining the needs of local customers, according to Anthony Tan, founder and CEO of GrabTaxi . In order to attract riders, GrabTaxi has focused on two things: convenience in inclement weather and safety, especially for women hailing cabs at night.

GrabTaxi founder Anthony Tan (fourth from left) with company staff members. -- PHOTO: COURTESY OF GRABTAXI - See more at:

GrabTaxi founder Anthony Tan (fourth from left) with company staff members in Malaysia. (Photo: GRABTAXI)

What are taxi-booking apps anyway and how they benefit the passengers?

A taxi-booking app is the mobile application allows you to enter your current location and flag a taxi to your pickup location. Think of taxi call center, you call to book a taxi and it come to pick you up and take you to your destination. Taxi-booking app works the same way only that you don’t have to call the call center, but you make a booking in mobile device through the application. And the beauty of the app is it has added features included in the apps include booking history, live feed of where your taxi is, as well as a taxi driver review system.

All taxi service apps like Uber, Easy Taxi, Lyft, and GrabTax are similar – their operations depend on their custom mobile apps. The app uses drivers from different taxi networks and automatically shows riders which cars are nearest and have the most reliable drivers using an algorithm that includes variables like distance, traffic, and quality rankings. The app charges a low booking fee (for example, two ringgits, or 61 cents, in Malaysia and 25 baht in Thailand). Like other taxi apps, GrabTaxi allows riders to rate their driver and track their vehicle’s movements using GPS.

As mentioned Uber is the world’s biggest taxi-booking app and it is building out its own fleet and emphasizing on premium rides, while GrabTaxi works with the existing taxi ecosystem in the countries it is operating in – namely Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore. According to GrabTaxi, currently there are about 800 GrabTaxi’s taxis in Bangkok.

One important measure is GrabTaxi will suspend taxi drivers who get complaints filed against them by passengers, so the drivers don’t have incentive to behave in ways that could risk a ban. The emphasis on having only drivers who have been rated and passed by customers on GrabTaxi’s platform also relates to safety.

Other measures to ensure security include GrabTaxi’s ‘Share your Ride’ function, which lets users share their journey through social media or messaging apps with friends and family. Users can also track the location of their taxi drivers, and their loved ones on a taxi via the app. Taxi drivers also have their contact numbers keyed into the app, so you can call them anytime.




How GrabTaxi works
This is what happens behind the scenes, and the passengers don’t have to worry or know about it but we will explain it anyway.

  1. Once you open the app, it shows how many GrabTaxi drivers are in your areas.
  2. Passengers key in a destination, select their cab type and tap the “Book Now” button for a taxi. Like Easy Taxi and, more recently, the Comfort and CityCab apps, the destination field is mandatory so drivers can plan their routes.
  3. GrabTaxi provides estimated travelling time and fare rate as the booking request is sent out to drivers within a certain radius of a location.
  4. The estimated fare rate does not include booking fees or ERP charges.
  5. Drivers have to bid for the job. Those who bid within 30 seconds and are closest to the passenger’s location will get the job.
  6.  GrabTaxi broadcasts a request for a maximum of about 30 seconds, after which a user is informed if a booking has been successfully made.
  7. Once a booking is accepted, the driver’s licence plate number and his estimated time of arrival will appear on the app at user’s end.
  8. There is an option to call the driver and the passenger also sees a taxi’s location in real-time.
  9. Users can use the app to forward the status of their rides to their contacts via social networks for example, Facebook or WhatsApp.

What passengers should know when using GrabTaxi
– The fare is made in cash to the driver, with the addition service fee of 25 Baht (for Bangkok, and Chiang Rai should be something similar). Remember you already have to pay 20 Baht fee for call center service, considering added features in the mobile app, this amount is not expensive at all.
– The meter reading will only start when a passenger is in the taxi.
– Passengers can share his/her status in popular social network websites. This is good to update your friends about where you are.
– Passengers can comments on the drivers, and this information will be used to review and evaluate the driver performance, and ultimately to ban drivers who don’t perform as according to the company standard.


How to use GrabTaxi?
The below steps will guide you how to use its service.
Step 1: Install the app in your mobile device.
Download app from  Apple App Store and Google Play Store. After that finish simple registration. There will be an activation code sent to you mobile. If activation code do not arrive in your message box, you can call customer service in Thailand to number 02-0212500.

Step 2: Get a taxi via GrabTaxi
Go to GrabTaxi app, select your current location and your desired destination. Then press next and continue with a few step to confirm your booking.

GrabTaxi promotion for Chiang Rai passengers. (Obsoleted)
As promotion for opening service in Chiang Rai, GrabTaxi is giving a special 80 Baht off the meter fare for 3 rides from 14 -26 March 2015. How? Just key in “WIN” in the promo code field. The below are the step to get the promotion.

The same as step 2 explained above, open the app and select your pick-up and drop-off locations then click ‘NEXT’. Key in “WIN” into the ‘PROMO CODE’ field and click “CONFIRM BOOKING”.
Then, You will receive an SMS and/or email about the successful promo redemption once you are allocated a taxi.
Then, Show the promo confirmation SMS and/or email to the driver and get 80 THB discount on your taxi ride and the 25 THB service fee still applies. 

For more information:


What it really means for Chiang Rai passengers?
When we say GrabTaxi is coming to Chiang Rai, it doesn’t mean the company is bringing brunch of drivers and taxi cars to the city. It only means that now we can request a taxi in Chiang Rai via its app. The taxi drivers will be the ones who already ride in the city. Those taxi drivers will have to pass the company’s requirement and be trained in order to handle the service through mobile requests. As for passengers, they will ride with a regular taxi, and with additional features, passengers will get more convenience and they will have all booking history as well as traceable and sharable records during the ride, of course with a little more extra fee for the service.

GrabTaxi has been available to Chiang Rai passengers since begging of March but it is still not known to majority of passengers. As per our information, there are currently 15-20 taxis available in the city.

Let’s see how it goes. We will post more updates about this.

Update: Read more about Using GrabTaxi in Chiang Rai





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