Didi Chuxing (滴滴出行) – always referred to as Didi (滴滴) – is a great app and if you are a user of Uber, you will find both apps pretty similar. Which makes sense as both services have merged in China…
After you download the app, create a profile using your phone number and link it to you Alipay, Wechat Wallet or bank card. The app interface can be switched between English and Chinese in the app’s settings. Note that if you choose the English version, you will only be able to input street names in English (respectively only Chinese street names for the Chinese interface). That can be pretty annoying when you get an address in Chinese but are using the app in English.
Anyway, besides that, the app works really well. You can get a car by following a few easy steps:
- It sets up automatically your pick-up location using your phone location (but you can change it),
- select immediate or scheduled pick-up,
- enter your destination and
- select the type of car that you want.
- Once you confirm your trip, the driver usually calls you to ask you where you are. That can also be a quite interesting if you don’t speak Chinese but as long as your location in Didi is correct, they’ll find you… You can also message the driver saying that you are waiting at the set location so he doesn’t call you…
The app also shows you the exact location of the car, the route it will take to reach you, the time it will take for the car to arrive, the car type, color and plate number.
You can select several categories of cars:
- Express, which is the cheapest option, has 3 sub categories:
- Express Pool: the cheapest option but you might have to share the car with other customers
- Express: the “normal” express ride, with most of the time Chinese cars.
- Express Select: only drivers with good reviews will be selected.
- Premier: a bit more expensive than express but better cars. You also get some water and a magazine to read.
- Luxe: way more expensive but you can choose between Audi A6L, BMW 5 series or Mercedes E class cars. You can also select a particular chauffeur in some cases. You need to reserve “Luxe” cars in advance as immediate pick-up is not available.
- Taxi: normal meter price. Note that taxis are not necessarily cheaper than Express cars but usually not as nice.
Prices vary depending on the type of cars and the time of the day. To give you a rough idea, without a specific discount, a 2.5-3km ride can cost you around 20rmb in Express, 35rmb in Premier or 110rmb in Luxe.
I usually use the Express cars – unless none is available at that time and place – and the cars are normally clean and the drivers friendly. Also Didi cars are almost everywhere in Shanghai and it’s very rare that you wait more than 5-10 minutes to get a car, unless the weather is bad and/or it’s peak time.
Didi Android App: