Planning a European adventure? Along with your passport, suitcase and credit card, there’s one item that’s going to make your trip a whole lot easier: your smartphone.
A few years back, getting around when visiting a European city meant puzzling out public transport, explaining yourself to a taxi driver or simply expending a whole lot of shoe leather. This might have been great for unplanned adventures off the beaten path, but just as often you ended up lost and frustrated.
At home, if you’re like millions of other Americans, you’re probably already accustomed to using Uber to get around at home. But the USA is not alone when it comes to the explosion in popularity of peer-to-peer ride sharing apps. However, while Uber has a large presence across Europe, there are plenty of other popular local alternatives that may serve you just as well, or even better, depending on where you travel.
From economy to luxury, there’s a ridesharing option in most European cities to suit most budgets. And getting where you want to go is as easy as whipping out your smartphone.
Uber Equivalents in Europe
MyTaxi (previously ‘Hailo’)
British company Hailo merged with Germany’s MyTaxi in 2016. MyTaxi now boasts 10 million users. It’s available in 50 cities in nine European countries, and currently hailed as the leading taxi-booking smartphone app in Europe. Users simply download the app to their smartphone, then choose and book a driver for their journey.
Countries where MyTaxi is most popular:
Ireland, Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy, Poland
As its name suggests, London-based Haxi is a ride-sharing service that takes the hard work (and high rates) out of hailing taxis. Haxi (a hybrid of “hack” and “taxi”) is a peer-to-peer ridesharing app which connects travelers online. Registered users can be drivers, passengers, or both. Users don’t need a registration to logon, but never fear – unregistered users can’t obtain details of other users.
Countries where Haxi is popular:
UK, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Denmark
Gett (Get Taxi)
Get Taxi is both a taxi and a courier, allowing customers to transport goods, services and themselves. The service can be ordered either through the Get Taxi website or the GPS-based smartphone app. More than half of London’s black cabs now run on Gett, and it’s available in more than 60 countries worldwide.
Countries where Gett is popular:
United Kingdom, Israel and Russia
Originating in Spain, Cabify provides both a business service and public service. Like other ridesharing companies, Cabify drivers are screened in a rigorous selection process and like Uber all drivers use their own vehicles. Cabify’s point of difference is that it charges by the kilometer (rather than time) according to the most direct route for the journey – even if that isn’t the route taken by the driver.
Countries where Cabify is popular:
The Lyft app will probably already be familiar to you. It doesn’t actually operate in Europe at the moment, but there have been rumblings of an overseas expansions soon so we thought it prudent to include it on the list anyway.
Lyft is very similar as a service when compared to Uber. It provides details of the driver’s name and ratings from previous passengers, as well as photos of the driver themselves and their car. A small point of difference is passengers can create a profile with personal information about their location and music preferences – which can help to get the conversation flowing.
Countries where Lyft is popular:
Currently only available in US but rumors have been circling of late about a European expansion.
Europe Car Sharing Apps
Why pay for the whole fare yourself when you can split it?
Inspired by Uber’s e-hailing concept, companies such as BlaBlaCar, Ants and Carma have taken it in a slightly different direction: instead of hailing a driver to take you to a specific destination it allows users to rideshare their journey with other people already heading to the same destination. This makes it popular for those travelling longer distances.
This simple but ingenious idea has seen a fleet of carpooling companies spread across Europe. They’re not only great for solo travelers to save on transport costs but also to meet other travelers or even just connect with locals.
Like ride hailing apps, users need only download the company’s app to their smartphone and register their details. Most companies have options for filling out a profile and setting up a credit card for cashless payment.
As the world’s largest ridesharing service for long-distance travel, French company BlaBlaCar now operates in 22 countries and boasts 35 million members. It’s also been awarded more than 50 prizes and honors since its creation. BlaBlaCar is based on the simple concept of making travel more efficient: filling empty seats in cars that would be making the journey anyway. To get a BlaBlaCar ride, members must register and create a profile, which shows their experience with the service. The BlaBlaCar point of difference is the “BlaBla” measurement – a rating of how much a passenger is willing to make conversation during the ride, intended to help like-minded travelers find each other a little easier..
Countries where BlaBlaCar is popular:
Ukraine, Russia, France, Spain, Turkey, Romania, Poland, Slovakia
Ireland’s contribution to the car-sharing network came in the form of Carma, a Cork-based service which helps people “break free from the tyranny of the modern commute”. Like other carpooling apps, Carma seeks out spare seats in driver’s cars and matches them with a passenger needing to travel the same route.
Countries where Carma is popular:
Free on Android
With its headquarters in Paris, Djump is the “social ridesharing” platform for peer-to-peer travel. Users register online or through their smartphone to order a ride. Drivers can be tracked in real time, and must login to Facebook to register. The drivers are handpicked from the Djump community, and rides are paid for by credit card, making it a convenient cashless way to get around.
Countries where Djump is popular:
Paris, Lyon and Brussels
Free on Android
Scandinavian ridesharing service Ants launched in 2012 as a means for users to connect with an available driver or passenger. Passengers simply post their request through their phone to go to a destination, while drivers state how many seats they have available – and the arrangements are made. Payment can be made through PayPal or cash. Ants is available in six languages.
Countries where Ants is popular:
Denmark and Norway
Lastly, don’t get stuck and make sure you’re equipped with the right Europe Data SIM card for your trip!