For ride sharing fans like us, we were excited to see if Uber or Lyft or any service was available in Seoul. There are Uber black car services, but we quickly learned that regular taxis here are not only plentiful, but extremely inexpensive, whereas Uber black car service is not. I definitely recommend using a taxi when you need to. So far our most expensive taxi ride has been only about 8,000 won.
A little info about the taxis types available: there are 3 different colors of taxis. Black, orange, and silver.
So let’s start with “How do I know a taxi is available?” If you see red wording “빈처” lit up in the is on in the front windshield, then that taxi is available.
So back to the differences between the taxis. Black taxis are deluxe taxis that are usually found waiting in major hotels and transport terminals. Their and base fare starts at 5,000 won for the first 3 km. We tend to avoid these only because the others are so easily available.
Orange and silver taxis are regular taxis and their base fare starts 3,000 won. The base fare on these is based on these is 2 km or 7 minutes. One additional difference on the orange taxis are considered International Taxis and they provide free interpretation service. Additionally, most drivers are supposed to speak english (but it really depends on your driver, some really have a very rough understanding of English).
One important thing to note is that after 11 pm the taxis will have a 20% late night premium fare surcharge on your ride, so for the yellow and silver taxis that is 3,600 won. Deluxe taxis do not have have a late-night surcharge.
To pay your driver you can use cash, or you can use your T-money card (that you use for public transit). Just tap your card in the T-money reader.
Finally, if you get in a taxi and he tries to tell you that you need to pay him extra money (not the normal metered fare) to drive you tell him no. The worst thing they will do is tell you to exit the cab and you can find another cab driver who isn’t trying to rip you off because you’re a foreigner. (This doesn’t happen all the time, but it definitely does happen, I’ve even seen taxis refuse Korean customers to try to pick us up instead and charge us the extra fee). If you encounter any taxi issues, take a picture of the license plate and note the time and location of the incident, then call the tourist hotline at 1330 to report the driver!