It’s about time, but the long awaited update to Kakao Taxi is here and now it’s in English. It also comes with some other neat features like finding a Driver when you’ve had one too many drinks, Parking, Navigation and Black if you’re looking for a fancy ride. The redesign is sleek with the new logo sitting on a black background. If you already have the old app on your phone, we recommend uninstalling it and reinstalling the new app.
For the most part the user-interface is very friendly and intuitive which includes the ability to drag and drop pins on a map. This means never having to get all tongue tied with addresses and trying to figure out which gu, dong, or gil you’re coming and going to. Along with the ability to hail a taxi with the app, you can also choose the type of car you need with options ranging from medium, large to deluxe.
For those looking to ride in style, Black has its own tab where you can seamlessly hail a luxury vehicle. This is extremely nice for date night or if you’re planning on getting all dressed up to go somewhere nice. These cars tend to cost a bit more than regular taxis for the extra comfort, but you can see what the estimated fare will be after entering the pick up location and destination. If the premium cost is acceptable, you can then request for Black. For those who have used Uber before, the interface for Black may look familiar as it seems you can also register a credit card to enable convenient and automatic payment.
The Driver feature is great for those who like to drive. In Korea, it’s quite popular for people who own cars to call deri-unjeongs (대리 운전). A deri is a driver who will come and help drive you and your car home after a long day or night. Whether you are just too tired to drive or had one too many drinks, this is a great option to get home safe and in one piece. As with the Taxi and Black options, you can drag and drop pins to set your destination and adjust your current location for accuracy. When setting up Driver, you will be required to enter your license plate number which will make it easier for the driver to find you. One of the coolest things about Driver is the ability to name your price by entering the fare you want to pay the driver. You can see what a typical meter fare is to help gauge how much to offer.
Another new feature of the redesigned Kakao Taxi is Parking. You can search for parking lots in areas that are programed in the application. While the feature still needs some work since it will only show lots that have partnered with Kakao, it could come in handy in a bind. You basically have the option to pre-pay for parking to guarantee a spot. This is great if you know the place you want to go will be extremely crowded or have limited parking. Beware that many lots are not a part of this system – so depending on the time of day, location or situation, you probably can find a closer spot by driving around the neighborhood a bit.
While Navigation is available inside the Kakao Taxi application, she only speaks in Korean. So unless you’re okay with following visual queues of the navigation map or understand Korean, we have found that the Waze app is still more user friendly for foreigners in Korea. Furthermore, Waze is super fun if you have kids since you can choose from a variety of interesting voices. Lightening McQueen’s voice is pretty slick when you’re racing down the streets of Seoul late at night.
Even though most of Kakao Taxi is in English, setting-up payment and locations may take a few tries since some explanations are still only in Korean. If random button pushing isn’t your thing, Wonderful offers free hands-on workshops for Premium and Elite level members. There is a special session that focuses on Getting Around in Korea and is a perfect opportunity to get everything set-up. For more information about Wonderful, the Expat Workshops or to sign-up for an upcoming event, visit www.gowonderfully.com.