It’s been a few months since Chinese DiDi ride-hailing app soft-launched in South Africa, however they have been established in several overseas markets for much longer. Earlier this week, DiDi expanded its coverage to include Johannesburg alongside Gqeberha and Cape Town.
Many people are probably wondering how DiDi compares to Bolt and Uber – who have become a common mode of transport for many across the country. Interestingly, Uber actually owns 12.8% of DiDi (as well as 6.8% owned by Tencent and 21.5% by Softbank). China has recently cracked down on DiDi, but the company continues to operate.
Setting up account
I’ve had an account since DiDi launched in Cape Town. The account creation was simple and similar to Bolt and Uber. Once activated, the user experience is similar to other ride-hailing apps including a map, starting and ending points, trip history, payment options, safety centre, help centre and more.
There’s also an option to invite friends to the app. If you invite a friend, you’ll both receive a discount on rides. Bolt has a similar referral system, however Uber have abandoned it (most likely since they’re established in the market). If you’re interested, find out how to claim a free DiDi coupon code.
In terms of payment options, DiDi accepts both cash and card payments. A PayPal option would have been nice too, like Uber has. Adding a virtual card was not a problem.
When ordering a ride, the estimated price will be displayed. There’s both an Go (safe comptact trips) and Express (everyday affordable rides) option – with the latter being slightly cheaper. Comparing Bolt and Uber for the same distance, DiDi was always slightly cheaper. They both fit up to 4 people, but there’s also an XL option for 6.
I have taken a number of trips with DiDi at this point – and sparked a conversation with many drivers. Most DiDi drivers claim the platform has superior security features in comparison to other ride-sharing apps, since drivers have regularly become targets by criminals in South Africa. DiDi offers a 24 hour call-centre for drivers.
However, it’s also important to note that many drivers are still active on other platforms. This is evident as during rides they receive notifications for other rider requests in the area.
At this point, the service levels between DiDi, Bolt and Uber are really competitive. They all have their own downfalls – so it’s best to use a platform you are most comfortable with. If you’ve never used DiDi, give it a go with a free DiDi promo code. We’d love to hear your thoughts!
Is DiDi cheaper than Uber?
In our comparison, DiDi works out to be cheaper than Uber. Since they’ve recently launched in new countries, they are keeping their prices competitive.
Is DiDi available in South Africa?
DiDi first became available in Gqeberha and Cape Town at the start of 2021 and expanded to Johannesburg in August 2021. DiDi will expand to new South African regions later this year.
How safe is DiDi?
After using DiDi for more than 10 trips so far, it’s been a safe and reliable service. There’s also an in-app security toolkit with several useful features like trip-sharing. You can also decline a driver if you don’t feel comfortable. Drivers can decline riders too!
Does DiDi accept cash?
DiDi does accept cash and card. Sadly no PayPal yet!
Which car ride app is the cheapest?
From our comparison DiDi is the cheapest car ride app, followed by Bolt and then Uber.
Is DiDi bigger than Uber?
While Uber has expanded to more markets, DiDi has a colossal 15 million drivers in comparison to 5 million Uber drivers. It’s big in China.
Does Uber own part of DiDi?
Uber actually owns 12.8% of DiDi (as well as 6.8% owned by Tencent and 21.5% by Softbank).