When it comes to hailing a taxi, pulling out your smartphone to order a ride has replaced waving one down. Let’s face it, it’s just easier—and in many cases, cheaper, depending on which app you’re tapping. We’ve collected the best services to load on your phone so that you can get hassle-free transportation no matter where you are in the world.
Best for: Most of the world
Uber is clearly the dominant player in the space, available in 445 cities in around 70 countries. Just don’t expect to call one in Austin. Uber also accepts cash in more than 22 cities in India, as well as some parts of Indonesia, the Philippines and Kenya.
Best for: United States
While Lyft is focused on the U.S., its app can be used overseas through similar ride-calling services. Simply call up the Lyft app and rides will be hailed through Ola in India, GrabTaxi in Southeast Asia, and Didi Kuaidi in China.
Best for: United States (New York City, Boston, Chicago)
The new name for the Taxi Magic app, Curb lets users book a yellow cab in advance and pay for taxis through your phone. The service is operated by Verifone Systems, which handles the payment systems for about half of New York City’s yellow taxis, and once had its own taxi app called Way2Ride. Note: Riders pay a $1.95 fee when booking a taxi.
Best for: India
India’s version of Uber, Ola is available in 80% of the on-demand taxi market in the country, and enables a variety of vehicle types to be ordered, from premium sedans to even tuk-tuks.
Best for: China
China’s version of Uber, Didi Chuxing was formed when the country’s Internet giants Alibaba and Tencent merged the top two ride apps. Like Uber, a variety of cars and rates are available. Rides are also able to be ordered through Tencent’s messaging app WeChat. Note: The Didi Kuaid app is only available in Chinese, but its website is available in English. Expect an English version of the app to be introduced now that Apple has invested $1 billion in the ride hailing app.
Best for: Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philipines
After launching in Malaysia, GrabTaxi has expanded to neighboring countries and offers its own Uber Black-like service called GrabCar, and GrabBike, where motorcycles are the preferred way to navigate through the region’s traffic jams.
Best for: United Kingdom, Spain, Singapore
The U.K.-based service is growing in Europe and is a good option in Singapore to hail metered taxis. The ability to pre-book a taxi is available.
Best for: Japan
Line Taxi is Japan’s version of Uber, and was launched by the creators of the messaging app Line as an in-app offering, not a separate service. Available in more than 90 cities across the country, the app lets users order metered cabs, not personal cars. So far there’s no English version of the taxi service, however one is said to be in the works.
Best for: Indonesia
Great for cities in Indonesia, Blue Bird also operates a premium car service called Silver Bird. Given how bad traffic can be in cities like Jakarta, Blue Bird lets users track just how long it will take for their rides to crawl to them.
Best for: Korea
Daum Kakao, Korea’s second-largest Internet company and the creator of the country’s most popular messaging app, KakaoTalk, went head-to-head with Uber when it introduced Kakao Taxi. Service can be used to hail metered taxis in cities like Seoul.