Add this one to the category of “essentials for survival” as an expat in Tashkent. MyTaxi is an app that simply must be installed on your smartphone the moment you get your brand new SIM card. Providing an Uber-like taxi service in the Uzbek capital, MyTaxi rides are never far away, and you’ll never have to worry about haggling for a fair price. Unfortunately for visitors, SIM cards are only available to those with valid registrations. This makes any newbie’s arrival in country difficult unless they are provided a SIM for personal use by a sponsoring organization, which we were not. Registration requires providing a local phone number.
After registration, the app is very intuitive. Simply set your pickup location on the map, get an estimated price by selecting your destination on the map, and then press the order button! The app will find the nearest available car, and even show the driver’s progress and estimated time of arrival in real time. The driver’s name, rating, car type, and plate number are all displayed for reference. All you need to do is wait for the driver to show up. The app even sends a notification to your phone the moment your taxi arrives.
Once in the taxi, usually as a passenger you would have to try and explain where you need to go. This multi-lingual hassle is also eliminated by MyTaxi if a final destination was selected on the map when you placed the order. The driver’s device displays the details of your order so they will know exactly where to take you. As a passenger, you can follow along on the route in real time, as both your phone and the driver’s will display the optimal route to your final destination. The price is automatically calculated by the app so when you arrive at the final destination the driver’s device will show exactly how much you need to pay without worrying about a surprise change in fare.
The alternative of course is the traditional Uzbek every-car-is-a-taxi approach, where by simply sticking out your hand you’re almost guaranteed to get a ride in less than sixty seconds. Some call this glorified hitchhiking, for others it’s simply the norm for everyday transportation. MyTaxi may be more expensive for locals, but depending on the distance, may end up being cheaper for expats. The base fare for MyTaxi is 7,000 сўм for the first 5km, so if you are only heading up the road to the pub, it’s probably best to just hail a cab the old fashioned way. For getting home in the evening MyTaxi is great stress free transportation solution!
Once established in Uzbekistan with your SIM card and handy MyTaxi app on your smartphone, getting around will be super easy. If you don’t have a driver, or haven’t arranged a ride in advance, MyTaxi can help you avoid the mob of sleazy mafia taxis at the airport exit who have been known to demand $25 for a ride to the center. With MyTaxi you can simply mark your pickup location as the main road outside the terminal and then wait until your driver shows up for a regular meter rate.
According to my MyTaxi email receipt history I’ve used the service at least 30 times in the last year. Probably the only reason we aren’t using MyTaxi everyday is because we have our own driver to take us to and from work everyday and run us around town for a few errands here and there. But for most social functions and late evening or weekend unplanned outings, MyTaxi is now our preferred transportation option. The only time we find ourselves using the glorified hitchhiking approach these days is when our destination is only a few kilometers away, or its too hot, cold, or we just don’t feel like walking. As an expat in Tashkent, MyTaxi is the way to go.