Cabify – my favorite taxi in Colombia

in Transportation

Two years ago I wrote a post about riding taxis in Cali. But the truth is that these days I rarely get in a yellow cab anymore.

For more than a year, I was a loyal Uber client in Cali. We even sold one of our cars because it was cheaper to just hire a car when needed and not worry about depreciation, maintenance, insurance, fuel, road taxes, annual vehicle taxes, change for parking and my girlfriend’s driving habits.

I estimated all of our monthly expenses for that one car at $1.000.000 pesos per month. We did the calculation and we have never spent more than $200.000 pesos in Uber.

But living 2 km up on the mountain in Bellavista means that a lot of Uber drivers cancel the trip when they see where they have to pick me up. I have no idea if it is out of laziness or they simply do not believe that anyone lives up there, but this nasty habit has become quite frequent and a nuisance for us as a family and interferes with our plan of eliminating a vehicle from our budget. No need to say, I needed to find a substitute…

Introducing Cabify

Have you ever been to a festival or public event in Cali, you may have laid eyes on one of the pretty birds advertising Cabify. I’ve never paid much attention to them (liar!), but the other day one of my colleagues was tasked with finding a company to help us with airport pickups for our clients and out of all the companies screened, Cabify came out as the best solution by far.

What I thought was a little local operator is actually a Spanish startup with operations in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Spain, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Dominican Republic, Uruguay, and Colombia where they are currently operating in Bogota, Barranquilla, Medellin, and CALI!

Cabify offers two principal services. LITE  (like UberX, but better) and CORP (like UberBlack, but a lot better). For the corporate service, you will need to have a NIT and a sign a contract with the company. Anyone can sign up for the LITE version which still is a very attractive option in my opinion.

So, what makes Cabify the best-looking kid in class, in my opinion?

  1. First off, the drivers are not allowed to cancel a trip once they pick it. Big win for me! (LITE + CORP)
  2. No dynamic pricing, meaning no 3.5x pricing during rush hour. During rush hour (weekdays from 6-10 AM and 4-8 PM) there is a $2500 surcharge. (LITE + CORP)
  3. You pay only for the distance driven and not for the minutes spent in the vehicle. So if you’re stuck in traffic, then no worries about being overcharged. (LITE + CORP)
  4. You can pay with Paypal, debit/credit card or monthly billing for corporate clients. (LITE + CORP)
  5. You can order a vehicle from your smartphone (OS X or Android) or any desktop computer. (LITE + CORP)
  6. You can reserve a vehicle for a pickup at a certain hour, up to 30 days in advance, and request a bilingual driver. Nice for airport pickups or important meetings. (LITE +  CORP)
  7. You can leave a message for your driver such as flight info, name of building, etc. (LITE + CORP)
  8. The company is legally incorporated in Colombia so you will not get in trouble with the authorities at police check-points. (CORP)
  9. Cancel for free up to 10 minutes after requesting a real-time pickup. Cancel a reservation for free up to one hour before pickup. (LITE + CORP)
  10. Unlike me, who is always underdressed (shorts and flip flops!) the Cabify drivers all sport a nice suit and wear the signature purple tie making me feel VIP (I know, I’m too easy to impress). (CORP)
  11. The cars need to be newer than 2012. (For Uber they need to be newer than 2001). (LITE + CORP)
  12. The only allow SUV and sedans, no hatchbacks. This assures you that you will always get a vehicle with enough space for your bags, etc. (LITE + CORP)
  13. Anyone can sign up for Uber and get approved in one day. For Cabify, drivers have to go through a more thorough application process which includes a psychological test, etc. (LITE + CORP)
  14. Cabify Colombia is in the process of implementing electric vehicles in order to provide a more sustainable service, thus lowering their CO2 emissions by 200 tonnes and gasoline consumption by 22.850 gallons per year.
  15. Oh, and I’m being offered a bottle of water 90% of the time. I think that has only happened once in my 1+ year of using Uber. (CORP)

I’m sure there are more benefits that deserve to get listed but I’m running out of steam. At $6.000 pesos, the minimum fare is slightly higher than Ubers $4.600 but I do feel that they make up for this by not charging for the minutes spent in the car.

Give it a try, I’m sure you’ll like it.

Please note, that I do not earn any compensation for recommending the service, I’m simply a happy client.

Passed through Cali for the first time in 2011, on his way from the US to Brazil on a motorcycle. Ended up kissing a caleña on his last night and the rest is history. Has been a resident of Cali, Colombia since 2013 and currently living in Barrio Bellavista with his girlfriend and 2 daughters.


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