Today I wanted to teach you about KakaoTaxi 🙂 I know KakaoTaxi is not the newest thing, but today was the first time I used it. It was too cold (-16C) to go to work by foot or even by bus, and I was feeling particularly lazy to walk to the taxi stop near my house (just 5 minutes by foot).
I couldn’t try it for a long time because apparently “the app is not available in your country”. Wait, you mean it’s not available in Korea, the country of Kakao? Well.. that’s right, me and many other people had the same issue. I googled for an answer, as it seems like my Google Play hasn’t located me in the right country, but so far I wasn’t lucky enough to change my country of residence. So, if this was also the reason you never got KakaoTaxi on your phone, don’t worry and scroll down to the bottom, there are many ways around it!
- Download Kakaotaxi on Google Play
- Download Kakaotaxi on Apple Store
- Download Kakaotaxi APK from the Internet
1. SIGNING IN THE KAKAOTAXI APP
After installing the App, you will see the icon of KakaoTaxi. Click on it and log in for the first time using your KakaoTalk account. Accept all Terms & Conditions. Next, you will have to verify your identity by providing your Korean mobile phone number. You will then receive an SMS on your phone and the verification code will be automatically added into the KakaoTaxi registering form.
Next, you will go to the App. It is currently only in Korean, but it is simple enough to use it with very basic notions of the language. And you can always just follow my screenshots 😀 The main screen looks like this:
2. HOW TO USE KAKAOTAXI
This is very simple. If you have your GPS on, the app will automatically find where you are at the moment. Just make sure the tag is correct or adjust it. Maybe you want to get picked up somewhere else, just tap on the map so it will get enlarged, and move the “출발” tag to your desired location.
To set up the destination, you will have to type on the “Search for destination” bar. I tried typing “gangnam” instead of 강남 and it worked. If you can’t type Korean, you can always write “gangnam” and then choose the first option. After gangnam has been set as your destination, just tap on the 2nd map and move the “도착” tag to your desired destination.
If you usually go to the same place, don’t worry because KakaoTaxi will save your destination history, so you can directly click on it next time. You can also delete the history by long-clicking on 1 or more past destinations and then “삭제” (delete).
3. MORE OPTIONS ON KAKAOTAXI
You will notice that after selecting the departure and destination, before clicking on the button to call the taxi, there will be a couple options. The first one is to get a medium sized cab (you can also mark the option “카드가능” if you want to make sure the taxi will accept card payments, although I have never been on a taxi that didn’t accept credit cards in Seoul & surroundings), the second one is to call a big cab, third one is 모범, and last but not least is the Black Taxi. First few ones are clear, but what is the Black Taxi?
Black Taxi is a new and premium feature. You will be picked up by a deluxe black taxi (Mercedes Benz E-series drove by well-dressed drivers trained by Highend, plus some in-car amenities such as mineral water and cell phone chargers), but the flag fee will start on 8,000 KRW (versus normal 3,000 KRW). There are only a hundred or so of these cabs so far, so I’m assuming it will be hard to hail one of these unless you’re in the city busy areas.
4. SETTINGS MENU
The app is very simple and there are not many things to do besides calling a taxi. However, there is a Settings menu on the upper right side of the app, where you can find some more useful information.
For example, the first option is a history of your trips. KakaoTaxi will save the trips you made within the last 1 year and you can check from where to where you went (including the times) and the driver you had. You can evaluate the driver if you didn’t do it yet within the next 3 days after the ride. You can also call the driver (also within the next 3 days only), I imagine if you forgot something in the cab for example, you could still try to locate him! If you click on the three dots next to the trip, you can also “add a shortcut” or “delete this trip from history”. I’m sorry I’m not sure of what the first one means.
HOW TO INSTALL KAKAOTAXI IF GOOGLE PLAY ISN’T ALLOWING IT?
A way to get around this is by downloading the app APK directly. I searched for it and found a website that had good reputation (link here). After downloading the APK, you can find it in your downloads folder and install the app from there. You may have to do something in your Device Settings to allow the manual install. Follow these screenshots if you need:
Another way seems to be to open the link to the Market on your laptop’s web browser and clicking “install” from there. If the laptop and the phone are linked to the same Google Account, the app will remotely be installed in your phone.
MY OPINION ABOUT KAKAOTAXI
I liked it because it saved me 5 minutes in a freezing windy weather today, but there are still many things to be improved, starting with English support. Really, Korean companies must realize the importance of having an English version, even if it’s simpler! It wouldn’t take too much work to have an English version, besides the T&C.
When the taxi driver is near you, he will usually call you to verify that you are at the pick-up point, and this could also be a problem for foreigners who can’t communicate in Korean.
Also when choosing your destination, you are forced to type an address (although I told you that you could just type Gangnam and then move the location pin). It would be easier if there was a map with your current location and it allowed you to move the pin directly, or if you could select your destination by choosing the city, gu and dong (neighborhoods).
On the positive side, KakaoTaxi charges no commission at all for normal rides (although it seems like the KakaoTaxi Black does earn Kakao money), while before you had to pay 1,000W when calling a taxi company.
Besides, one big issue when hailing a taxi on the streets is that some won’t take you if your destination doesn’t suit the driver (be it because it is too close, too far, or whatever). With KakaoTaxi app, apparently the drivers are not informed of your destination point until they pick you up, so they cannot really deny your ride. This, of course, is a doubled-edged sword. On busy days (peak time, rainy or snowy days…) taxis might directly ignore you since they don’t know whether your route favors them or not, and they’d rather just pick people up on the streets so they have the “power of denying the ride”.
One last thing, I forgot to take screenshots during my ride today, but after calling a taxi, you can see on the map the nearby cabs and their movement in real time. This is quite cool and similar to what Uber has.
To sum up, while KakaoTaxi is not a revolutionary app, it is a very needed service, specially for us foreigners who don’t want to deal with telling the exact address to our taxi driver because of language issues. It costs 0 and it can save you some wandering time on the streets, so why not use it? ^^