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Taxis get a lot of flack for not being as up-to-date as Uber, but these days, this traditional mode of transportation is just as modern and convenient as any rideshare app. One of the first platforms to bring taxi hailing to our smartphones was mytaxi. Now that mytaxi is FREE NOW, it’s helping riders all across Europe access cab rides with just a few taps.
While mytaxi was by no means the only taxi app around, it was one of the first virtual taxi hailing platforms to grow internationally. Just like Easy Taxi became widely used across Latin America, mytaxi became a massive hit in Europe — especially in Germany — and, at one point, even in Washington, D.C.
The mytaxi brand no longer exists, but through a new taxi app known as FREE NOW, its legacy continues today.
In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about what mytaxi was and how it works as part of FREE NOW.
- What Was mytaxi?
- What Is FREE NOW?
- How FREE NOW Works
- How Much Does FREE NOW Cost?
- How to Sign Up for FREE NOW
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Was mytaxi?
Launched in 2009 in Hamburg, Germany, mytaxi was a mobile app that connected riders and taxi drivers. The platform allowed users to request rides just by entering their pick-up and drop-off locations, then tapping to request a ride. It also made cashless credit card payments and tips much easier.
The mytaxi app operated in over 40 cities and became the source of nearly half of all taxi bookings in Germany after it acquired Hailo, its main competitor. This growth largely occurred following Daimler AG’s acquisition of mytaxi in 2014.
What Is FREE NOW?
When Daimler AG merged with BMW Group in 2018 to form YOUR NOW, a joint venture focused on urban mobility services, FREE NOW was one of five solutions that it introduced. FREE NOW is a smartphone app that allows riders to book taxis, as well as professional rideshare-style services in select markets.
The FREE NOW platform and fleet were created by merging together the best of four on-demand ride companies: mytaxi, Kapten, Beat, and Clever Taxi. Thanks to this merger, the mytaxi concept is available in over 100 European cities.
How FREE NOW Works
Once you open up the app, you can use the “Enter destination” bar to submit your pick-up and drop-off addresses. You’ll be able to review all your local taxi ride options and price estimates, then request your ride.
Every FREE NOW market minimally offers standard taxi rides for four passengers. In some cities, you’ll be able to request special options like taxi vans, wheelchair-accessible taxis, eco-friendly taxis, and luxury cabs.
Some markets, including select cities in the United Kingdom and Portugal, also offer private-hire cars with upfront pricing (rather than metered pricing). While this is a rideshare-style service, you’ll always have a professional driver.
Upon selecting your ride, you can schedule your taxi ride up to four days in advance. However, if you’re requesting on-demand rides like most riders, you’ll soon be matched with a licensed taxi driver and be able to track your ride progress on your app.
At the end of your ride, you can simply pay in-app with your connected credit card, debit card, or PayPal account and rate your driver. Cash payments are still acceptable for taxi rides booked through mytaxi.
How Much Does FREE NOW Cost?
The cost of taxi rides booked through FREE NOW are still based on local taxi rates. You’ll get an estimate before you book, but your final price may still change depending on the exact route your driver takes and the level of traffic on the road.
Unlike other popular taxi apps like Curb and Arro, FREE NOW does not charge any extra fees for booking cab rides through its platform. However, there may be an extra surcharge (included in your estimate) if you request a specialty taxi or if you’re heading to the airport.
If you choose to book a private-hire car instead of a taxi, you’ll receive an upfront price based on FREE NOW’s local base fare, per-distance rate, per-minute rate, and minimum fare. These rates are still more expensive than a typical UberX ride since you’ll be matched with a professional driver, but they’re often more affordable than taxis. However, the cost of this rideshare-style service can be impacted by surge pricing, so prices may go up in times of high demand.
When booking a private-hire car, you have two minutes to get to your driver. Beyond that, you’ll be charged per minute that your driver has to wait (25 pence per minute in London). If you cancel your ride or don’t show up within five minutes, you’ll be charged a cancellation fee (usually around 5 euros).
In addition to the fares and fees you may need to pay, tipping is always expected. Etiquette varies from market to market, but a minimum tip of 10% is the standard in most European countries. FREE NOW actually allows you to set a default tip amount (10%, 15%, or 20%) within the “Wallet” section of your app, so you never forget to add gratuity to your payment.
How To Sign Up for FREE NOW
To sign up for FREE NOW, you’ll first need to download the taxi app from the Google Play store or Apple App Store. You’ll need a smartphone that runs on Android 5.0, iOS 11.4, or later for the app to work.
Once you have the app downloaded and opened, tap “Free Sign Up” on the home screen.
Then, choose to register with email, Google, or Facebook. You may need to manually enter your first name, last name, mobile number, email, and preferred password, depending on which one you choose. You’ll also be asked to verify your phone number.
Follow the prompts to complete registration and you’ll be ready to request your first ride. If needed, you can head to the “Wallet” section of your app to update your payment information as needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re tired of ridesharing around your city or simply want a more convenient way to request a taxi, FREE NOW — which greatly expanded mytaxi’s fleet and services — is a platform for you. Learn more about FREE NOW in the FAQs below:
Where is FREE NOW available?
FREE NOW can be used in nine European countries. These countries are Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Within these markets, FREE NOW operates in over 100 European cities, including London, Frankfurt, Warsaw, Dublin, and Madrid.
Can I earn money by driving for FREE NOW?
Absolutely. FREE NOW accepts taxi driver applications in all of its markets. As long as you have the proper licensing in your city, you can learn more and apply from the “Driver” section of your country’s FREE-NOW.com page.
Some markets also accept drivers for FREE NOW’s rideshare-style service. Due to stricter regulations across much of Europe, you’ll still need to meet local licensing requirements and complete your onboarding in-person. Driving for these companies is not quite as easy as applying to drive with Uber in the United States.
What are the four other solutions offered by YOUR NOW?
In addition to FREE NOW, Daimler AG and BMW Group launched the following solutions under its joint venture:
- SHARE NOW, a short-term car rental service
- PARK NOW, a parking space booking service
- CHARGE NOW, an electric vehicle charging station service
The fifth solution that YOUR NOW launched, known as REACH NOW, was a trip-planning service that has since been shut down.
Most of these services were, like mytaxi, formed by merging several companies together.
Hail a Taxi From Your Phone
mytaxi was one of the biggest taxi apps in the world, bringing convenient cab-hailing services to over 40 international cities. Since its acquisition by Daimler AG and the merger that created FREE NOW, the concept of mytaxi has been introduced to over 100 cities across Europe. If you’re looking for a great way to request a ride with a professional driver, downloading FREE NOW may be the best route for you.
If you’re trying to decide between ridesharing and taxi rides, read our Uber vs. taxi comparison to make the smartest choice.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.