UBER has now officially added the service option for their Bangkok, Thailand based customers to hail rides for long distance transfers such to the popular coastal cities of Hua Hin, Pattaya and Rayong.
I found this new offer by coincidence while using the UBER app in Bangkok yesterday and was surprised that they now made this an official offer.
Previously you were able to request all sorts of crazy rides on the UBER app (even to other countries) because there was no limitation in what you can actually book but of course any driver can cancel the request, especially if the route is unreasonably long.
Here is the list as available right now:
Once you have requested a ride to other cities please inform the driver by calling or in-app chat about your destination.
Drivers (in Bangkok, not sure about other places) can’t see where passengers want to go until they start the trip and you’re in the car. That’s why you often get texts from the drivers asking you where you want to go after they already accepted the ride. This drives me nuts because it’s exactly the reason why I avoid taxis in certain cities as they often refuse to go a certain route where there is likely traffic congestion.
I’d totally understand however why someone would refuse to go to Hua Hin. The distance between Bangkok and Hua Hin are 220 KM, taking 3 hours to drive and more likely than not it’s impossible for the driver to find a passenger to go back to Bangkok on the return. If you take away UBER’s cut of the 2,200 THB fee then the driver get’s maybe 1600THB for the trip. Not really a lot if he goes back empty. USually the amount of traffic going back into Bangkok is pretty heavy and this could mean for the driver to be on the road for a good 7-8 hours just to earn 1600 THB (and having to fuel up his car).
The downside for the passenger: When you go to places like that it’s usually not on a whim but because you want to stay a few days and have a hotel reserved. If you run into problems with these UBER requests then you have to take a regular taxi and the haggling begins again (I can’t stand taxis in Thailand, period). It’s usually too late as well to call for a limousine company as they often require advantage notice.
UBER should make some modifications in their ride hailing system when it comes to these long distance requests, such as showing the drivers immediately if the passenger is a long distance customer even before they accept the ride. I don’t see much incentive for a driver of going to Hua Hin for example, there are no UBER cars down there and henceforth not many people will even look for one in the first place. It might be easier to go to Ayutthaya especially if you’re a tourist and want to go back (maybe ask the driver to take a break while visiting the sites) or places where there are many customers around who need to go back to Bangkok.
For Hua Hin I rather utilize the Shuttle Service many hotels that have properties in Bangkok in Hua Hin offer. Grand Hyatt Bangkok / Hyatt Regency Hua Hin, Intercontinental Bangkok / Intercontinental Hua Hin as well as Westin Grand (and some other Starwood properties) / Sheraton Pranburi offer shuttle service between the hotels for ~700 THB per person provided you’re a guest of the hotel. Alternatively I often just reserve a company called Bangkok Airport Limousine a few days ahead of time and they Toyota Camry, Minibus or even Mercedes E Class for very reasonable rates. They also pick up from the city. Almost the same price as this Uber X option so not sure I’d mess with UBER for the time being if I can get a large, clean car pre-reserved without any stress.