In the world of tourism, there are several things important to know before visiting a city. Among the main information of vital importance is the climate of the place specially to know what clothes to pack, the gastronomy of the country, and the main places to eat.
But one thing that should be investigated and try to know with more time is the mode of transport once the destination is reached. What are the means available? How much do they cost? What are safe? How is the logistics of the city? These are questions that tourists should ask themselves when planning their trip to avoid cheating, save time and achieve the economy.
Transportation in the Dominican Republic is peculiar and still needs to be developed a little more in terms of price, quality, and safety.
There are different means of transport, one part of public transport is handled by the government and the other part through unions, recently digital platforms, such as Uber, Cabify, Indriver, have been integrated.
It is recommended that when visiting the Dominican Republic, especially Santo Domingo, you can plan a kind of itinerary that allows you to have control of the transport that will be needed.
Here I will tell you some tips and my brief experience using digital transport platforms in the Dominican Republic.
Updated information: Uber’s service has been expanded and is now available for the city of Higüey and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.
Since August 2020 Uber in the Dominican Republic announced its expansion and operation in Punta Cana.
The Uber service exists in the Dominican Republic for several years, but in Punta Cana, it is not yet established. Although recently the Uber service expanded to the cities of San Pedro and La Romana that are in the East at same as Punta Cana.
There is evidence of growth and interest by Uber to arrive with its service to the area of Bávaro / Punta Cana, but the taxi union of that area has exclusive agreements with some hotels and I do not think it will be so easy Establish the Uber service in these cities.
Is Uber safe in the Dominican Republic?
The Uber service is safe in the Dominican Republic, the platform makes it easy for you to see the vehicle and the driver’s photo before boarding a trip, besides the qualification as a driver.
Uber trips are also insured in case of an accident, this liability insurance civil is enabled during a trip, to cover passengers and people affected in an accident.
I have experience because I was an Uber driver in Santo Domingo for about six months, being a professional, it was a terrible personal experience, but I learned many things from life and tried to provide good service all the time, so I will give you some safety tips to use Uber in the Dominican Republic:
• Before boarding the vehicle, be sure to ask the driver’s name and look at his face to confirm, sometimes the driver will also ask your name to make sure he is picking up the right person, if you want to feel safer you can also look at the license plate number of the vehicle, all that information is available at the moment the driver chooses your trip.
• Whenever you can, try to pay the Uber fare via credit card, many times when the payment is in cash the drivers have no cash change, other times the fare is previously shown by Uber before selecting the trip may vary due at some change of route and payment in cash can be a misunderstanding, the ideal is that you can verify at all times on your cell phone, how much is the cost of the payment at the end.
• Always make sure at the end of your trip that the driver has finished the trip, it is a bad habit for some Uber drivers in the Dominican Republic, at the end of the trip they do not end it and continue to roll the city so that at the end the fare Uber is more expensive to the user.
at the end of each trip Uber sends you a warning when the trip has been completed, you must make sure of this before getting off the vehicle, this is very important.
• Be specific with the destination address entered Uber, do not panic if the driver changes route, when I was an Uber driver, and always used Waze which is an alternate Uber navigator, it seemed much more practical and effective, stay alert and see which browser the driver uses.
• Do not expect the Uber driver in the Dominican Republic to speak English, do not expect the driver to accept very long trips such as Santo Domingo / Punta Cana, although Uber agrees to introduce such trips.
Most drivers will refuse to do so because Uber only charges the user the one-way fare to the destination, and because in Punta Cana there is still no Uber service the driver would have to make a return trip with no gain.
• Some drivers do not even like to make Trips to the airport. Because the Uber driver has to make a waiting shift at the Santo Domingo airport to pick up Uber users, and it is a waste of time for the Uber driver, and he usually has to leave the airport without a passenger.
How to use Uber in the Dominican Republic
Using Uber in the Dominican Republic is the same concept as in all parts of the world, you must download the Uber application for apple or android depending on your cell phone and create an account.
If you already have an Uber account then the application will automatically detect your location and you can place orders in the place you are, the city of Santo Domingo is saturated with Uber, you can find the service at any time of the day, Uber will always select the vehicle closest to your position.
Uber fare estimate in the Dominican Republic
At the beginning the Uber fare was a fixed amount per trip, depending on the distance, then Uber changed the charging rate based on the time and the route in Kilometers of each trip.
For the traditional Uber the base fare starts with 35 Dominican pesos (US $ 0.7), 4 Dominican pesos per minute of travel (US $ 0.08) 10 Dominican pesos per Kilometer (US $ 0.2), adding all these factors you will get the rate of your trip.
For example; If you will make a trip of 8 kilometers and 30 minutes approximate, the rate would be calculated:
• Base trip rate = 35 Dominican pesos (US $ 0.7)
• 8 (kilometers) * 10 Dominican pesos = 80 Dominican pesos (US $ 1.6)
• 30 (minutes) * 4 Dominican pesos = 120 Dominican pesos (US $ 2.4)
That half-hour trip in total costs approximately 235 Dominican pesos (US $ 4.7)
If the trip is an Uberxl, which are larger vehicles to carry over six people, the fare is more expensive.
Other transport technology platforms in the Dominican Republic
Apart from Uber, in the Dominican Republic, there is also the Cabify transport platform that provides service in Santo Domingo; however, Lyft does not yet exist in the Dominican Republic.
Another transport platform that is being used a lot in the country is Indriver, this starts in the city of Santiago and also works in Santo Domingo and many other cities.
I dare to say that Indriver has much more drivers than Uber, because This service has the particularity that it does not charge a percentage of the fee to the driver and that all payments made are in cash.
To the driver this service seems very attractive, although in Santo Domingo drivers use several platforms simultaneously. You can download Indriver app for Android or iphone.
How Indriver works is very different from Uber and the others, since there the user offers payment for the cost of the trip and the drivers accept or negotiate through the same App, usually, if the payment is fair, they always accept.
Do taxis in Punta Cana take US dollars?
Yes, the dollar is accepted as a payment currency with no problems by Taxis in Punta Cana and the Dominican Republic. You should only know the exchange rate about the Dominican peso.
Digital transport platforms are an excellent option to transport, safe, efficient, practical, really in the Dominican Republic is a step of evolution in a very poor transport system and perhaps the “alert button” for other company’s premises offers a better service at a competitive level.
From the driver’s point of view, at least in the Dominican Republic I consider the service very economical, it is not very profitable, for me, it was a terrible experience, the user wins from all points of view.