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Grab Taxi/Car Bolt, Baht buses and Transport In Pattaya.


john luke
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Grab Taxi/Car, Bolt, Baht buses and transport generally in Pattaya.

At the start of this trip, I downloaded the Bolt app, which provides via a mobile phone is an on line taxi and private hire car service.  Historically I have had the Grab Car/taxi app on my phone and used it regularly over the years.

Whilst In the UK and where possible in Europe, I tend to use cashless payments when possible, however I declined to link a credit or debit card to either of these apps electing to pay for each ride in cash.  My reasons for this were that some time ago Grab introduced a policy of making a charge when a car/taxi arrived and the passenger was not there.  Whilst I do not think such charge is unreasonable per se, I could see it being an easy way out for drivers who for any one of a number of reasons did not pick up the passenger and sought some form of remuneration.  I did not want my UK credit card company having to sort out a disputed payment for perhaps 50 baht.  I would not wish to use my Thai bank debit card for this purpose, for obvious reasons.

That said over the years there was only one occasion when a Grab car failed to turn up and cancelled.  Again historically response time usually three to ten minutes.

The Bold app was recommend as being slightly cheaper than Grab and my few uses over the last week or so bear this out.  Both apps use a combination of marked taxis and other vehicles.  Bolt also uses motor cycle taxis.

The baht bus is still 10 baht for most journeys and 20 for longer ones such as those on Sukhumvit or Jontien to Naklua.  So the baht bus remains the normal method of transport within Pattaya.

There now seems to be fewer baht buses on the roads.  We finished a meal quite late one evening (2130) at a restaurant in Naklua Road and not one baht bus passed us whilst walking back to the condo.  I have also noticed as after about 2000 hours there are fewer baht buses around.

In conclusion more reasons one may wish to or be forced to use taxis or Grab/Bolt vehicles.  Worldwide I would suggest that taxi drivers do not have a high ‘Public confidence’ rating, due to overcharging, over quoting prices, refusing to use the meter etc etc etc, practiced by no doubt a small minority of drivers.  I believe it is for this reason that taxi apps have grown in popularity and use.

Yesterday afternoon, I boarded a baht bus waiting at one of the points on Beach Road, where they wait and fill up with passengers.  I was the only passenger.  After a while the driver approached me and said, ‘Where You Go?’  I told him and he said 60 baht, OK?  I said, ‘No    10 baht.’  He said OK.  In consequence I got off the baht  bus and elected to walk a little further.  

In conclusion I suggest that driver conduct is a key factor in the growth of these services.  Overall Bolt prices are cheaper and they utilise a variety of cars; whether prices remain low, only time will tell.

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  • john luke changed the title to Grab Taxi/Car Bolt, Baht buses and Transport In Pattaya.
38 minutes ago, fforest said:

I am not quite sure what point you are trying to make....

But Pattaya has a fantastic public transportation system provided you live near the Baht bus routes,and know what the moto-cy prices should be...  

 

What ????    :default_crazy:

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36 minutes ago, fforest said:

I am not quite sure what point you are trying to make....

But Pattaya has a fantastic public transportation system provided you live near the Baht bus routes,and know what the moto-cy prices should be...  

Not particularly making any point other than promoting the Bolt App.

I think however that you hit the nail on the head with your point 'know what the motot cycle prices should be'.  Prices on the App are transparent without the need to know in advance what the price should be.

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JL, how do you find the Bolt app interface (specifically for first time use / setting up) ? - User friendly and easy to navigate or over complicated?.

I've heard a lot of good reports about Bolt being very cheap and reliable. Not sure if it is available in the Philippines or elsewhere in SEA at the moment but hopefully as it gains users and popularity it will do so.

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@Butch


If you search the App Store for Bolt, it shows up as third on the list, next to one for drivers or potential drivers.  I am an Apple user.
 

Set up easy all one needs is e mail address and a telephone number.  I suggest Thai number is best as drivers do occasionally ring to clarify pick up point.  There is a text system between driver and customer on the app.

 

 

There is an option to add a credit card which I did not take advantage of.

 

I would assume Android is similar.

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Used Bolt for the first time yesterday. UI made it easy to select a destination and type of transport. Selected motorbike, not because it was least expensive, but because I figured it would be a bit quicker getting me to my destination than a cage. I was right on that account, but...

In hindsight I won't use a Bolt motorbike again as it was some random dude with motorbike that showed up and rode like I do, aggressively. That's ok when I'm the rider, but riding pillion and not in control I appreciate a less aggressive ride. For all the negative posts I've read about motorbike taxi guys, my experience has been they are good riders and have never felt apprehensive riding pillion with them. Next time I'll just walk the 200m to the local motorbike taxi stand.

One negative to the Bolt app is I haven't found a way to accurately set my home location. I expect it would be easy if I lived in a condo, guesthouse, or hotel that had a map location, but living in a house I haven't found a way to specify on the map my home location. When I try entering my address, the app won't accept it, but instead uses a location one soi over from my home. Not a problem when specifying a pickup from home as the app knows where I am at the time, but if I ever want to use it to get home I'll have to tell the driver every time to keep going until I get to my house.

Can anyone with more experience with the app tell me how they set their profile home location to a house address.

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I used Bolt to travel to and from Ocean Marina, the other day.  I did a straight comparison on prices between Bolt and Grabt and Bolt were about 40% cheaper.  The lowest level of Bolt uses private cars as well as marked taxis.  Overall I am still happy to use it.

I don't know how long it has been running, however I remember in the early days of Grab, prices for Grab Car were significantly cheaper than those for Grab Taxi, but as time went on the two almost reaced parity.  I wonder if this will happen to Bolt or whether competition between the two apps will keep prices competitive.

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1 minute ago, john luke said:

I used Bolt to travel to and from Ocean Marina, the other day.  I did a straight comparison on prices between Bolt and Grabt and Bolt were about 40% cheaper.  The lowest level of Bolt uses private cars as well as marked taxis.  Overall I am still happy to use it.

I don't know how long it has been running, however I remember in the early days of Grab, prices for Grab Car were significantly cheaper than those for Grab Taxi, but as time went on the two almost reaced parity.  I wonder if this will happen to Bolt or whether competition between the two apps will keep prices competitive.

Are they mainly local or do they Airport runs as well? 

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1 hour ago, forcebwithu said:

Just checked. Economy 979B, XL 1427B, or for the brave a motorbike at 1082B.

I did Bolt from the airport to Pattaya a few months ago and had to add the tolls to the price on the app IIRC.  Price and service still OK for me.

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7 hours ago, forcebwithu said:

Just checked. Economy 979B, XL 1427B, or for the brave a motorbike at 1082B.

Motorbike with a 30 kg suitcase and a carry on, good luck with that   555

Can they use Highway 7 ?

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6 minutes ago, bob lt said:

Motorbike with a 30 kg suitcase and a carry on, good luck with that   555

Can they use Highway 7 ?

Two wheels not allowed on tollways. Don't think Bolt has a filter to eliminate motorbikes when the destination isn't practical for such a mode of transport. Probably what would happen if one tried to select a motorbike, no rider would accept the fare.

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Yesterday I had two Bolt journeys between my condo just off Naklua Road and The Sanctuary of Truth.  The distance on Apple Maps is 1.8 or 1.9 maps depending upon route used.  The fare was 43 baht.  From memory I think historically I have paid 60 baht for a motor cycle taxi.

The surprise I got was the the vehicle for my outbound journey was a baht bus;  I was allowed to sit in the front.  The driver was fine and drove well; his English was probably the best from all the drivers I have used this trip.  As I was traveling on my own the baht bus was not a problem.

The return journey was a small saloon.  Both vehicles were clean and both drivers wore masks covering mouth and nose, as did I.

The Baht bus for the short journey was not an issue for me, however if there were two or more passengers or it was a longer journey, it may have been.

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Playing around with the Bolt app last night while sitting at a restaurant on Buakhao I noticed the route to my home it came up with was not the most direct, shortest distance route.

I also noticed the same when the motorbike driver picked me up the other day the route showing on his screen was heavily weighted towards using the main thoroughfares. I ended up telling him to forget the phone and let me direct him as I was getting concerned he was spending too much time looking at the small screen than riding the bike.

I suspect what's happening is Bolt is using the Google Maps API for directions, and that API has a select option for driving or walking. When I look at the shortest distance route on Google Maps, that would be the walking route whereas Bolt only displays the driving route.

A minor annoyance since for short distances it only adds 1 km at most, but it does mean more waiting at stop lights.

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  • 4 months later...

I have used the Bolt App several times over the last few weeks for journeys which went outside the traditional baht bus routes; also used it on two occasions when it was pouring down with rain.

Waiting time seems to be about 3 or 4 minutes.  On a couple of occasions the time initially showed 4 minutes and gradually dropped to one minute and then shot back to four minutes again.  I have noticed over the few weeks that I have been here that the number of baht busses on the streets seems to have fallen; this mostly around and after 2100.  

Baht buses driving round trying to pick up 'a private hire' booking has disappeared.

Still had a couple of occasions where taxi drivers have asked for more than the agreed Bolt fare on the App.  I usually have the correct fare sorted out, rounded up the nearest 10 baht before starting the journey so I just give them that.  

I am still of opinion that the taxi drivers, by asking for inflated fares are responsible for the growth of Apps like Bolt and Grab Taxi.

How long the low prices will continue if the number of visitors increases is of course unknown.  Over all so far so good.

Typical fare yesterday from Naklua Road to Big Buddha 82 baht.

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20 minutes ago, john luke said:

I am still of opinion that the taxi drivers, by asking for inflated fares are responsible for the growth of Apps like Bolt and Grab Taxi.

Yup. Totally agree with that opinion ... but why may that be?

Of course we all know the reason why and it is all part of the deconstruction of how much we pay for services in Pattaya.

All I know is that the tiger who came to tea is still hungry. If he isn't fed then he will go to another house that WILL feed him! 

At the moment the tiger seems to be snacking on hors d'oeuvre elsewhere.

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