I think if this option was available, everyone would be using Uber in Yerevan. If you are a traveler in our capital, or in Armenia in general, at some point you will most definitely want to take a taxi. I bet back in your home country you use taxi apps like Uber, Bolt, Lyft or some other app for rides all the time. Well, I’ll be quick to disappoint you that Uber is not available in Armenia, nor the other taxi apps mentioned above. However, the good news is that there are several great local alternatives offering your beloved shared rides – GG, Yandex Go and UTaxi. In this post I’m going to compare these three taxi apps, to help you make the right choice. Besides, there is plenty of regular taxis always ready to give you a lift, which I’ll also talk about.
Whether you are exploring unique sights in Yerevan, or checking out the top cities for visitors in Armenia, there is a high chance you will need a taxi at some point. And I hope this post will help you navigate through the offer, usage of these apps, payments (card and cash) etc. At the end, I’ll also share with you some tips on how to handle catching a taxi on the street. 😉 So stick around! Now, let’s have a look at all these options one by one.
Top 3 main Armenian taxi apps:
- GG taxi
- Yangex Go
GG Taxi app: the best alternative to Uber in Yerevan
GG, or gg, is an app-based transportation service, just like Uber, but it’s Armenian! This taxi app is available for iOS and Android, and its English version works just fine. It offers a wide range of quality cars and tries to cater to everyone’s needs. With just a tap of your finger, you can order a taxi, choosing a regular car or something that aligns with your wallet better. (see below)
Waiting time for GG Taxi in Yerevan depends on the time of the day, and, of course, the traffic situation in the city. It also depends on your location: the cars are mostly readily available in the city center. So if you are outside of it, you might find it harder to get a car quickly. However, on average, the waiting time is about 5 minutes, so it’s not a big deal if you call a car at the last moment.
GG Taxi fares
These are the main options you have with GG when it comes to the quality of the car and prices:
- gg (Regular)
For example, ggEconom is a little bit cheaper than the Regular option. However, by paying less you also get a bit older and less prestigious car model. So, if you don’t mind the condition of the car, then this option is definitely for you. On the other hand, ggSpecial offers better cars but costs more per kilometer than the regular one. Hence, it is up to you to choose if you are ready to pay extra for a bit more comfort.
They also offer cars in some special categories, as for example ggASAP, ggShuttle or ggXL. With ggASAP option the app ignores all other variables and looks for the nearest car and gets it to you as soon as possible. Another option is ggShuttle, which is best if you want to meet locals during your ride. It is like a taxi-bus that has a special route they drive and take customers on the way. And you can order ggXL if you need a larger car, something that can carry up to 7 people at once.
If you’re interested in taking trips out of town they offer better deals for you. So, don’t forget to select that option before requesting a ride. Besides, you can also select the “Air conditioner” and “Pets” options with any of the categories with an extra 200 or 400 AMD respectively. Especially if it’s a hot summer day and you have a pet with you, simply select both options and enjoy the ride!
In addition to all this, GG also offers vehicles for delivery services, and different kinds of trucks, including tow trucks in case you end up in an accident while driving. By the way, I wrote a separate post about how to rent a car in Yerevan. (coming soon) So, check it out in case you’re planning to drive here.
GG taxi app: prices for rides in Armenia
Prices for GG taxi vary depending on the tariff you choose, the time of the day, and the traffic situation – typically between 100 and 150 AMD per kilometer. But for your reference, my bill from one end of the city center to the opposite end of it has never been over 1200 AMD (approx. 2.25 EUR). Here is a breakdown of the standard minimum fare, which includes a 5 km ride:
|GG tariff you choose:||Minimum fare:|
|gg (Regular)||600 AMD|
So, basically, GG taxi is a very cheap and convenient way to move around in Yerevan. You choose the tariff based on how much you’re ready to pay for your comfort and go for a ride. It’s very democratic! 🙂 I always book ggEconom, because I want to give a chance to drivers who are less well off. That, unless gg (Regular) promises to arrive significantly quicker, which doesn’t really happen that often. Usually, the difference is 2-3 minutes. But when I move around Yerevan with my parents I call ggSpecial, cause I want to provide them with a better experience.
One more thing to add! There is also a small extra fee if the driver has to wait for you after arriving at your pick-up location. If you want to avoid paying for the driver’s waiting time, make sure you get to the car in 5 minutes once it arrives.
I list GG as the first alternative to Uber in Yerevan because this is my preferred option. I love the convenience of the app and how they handle customer service. Also, it’s the first tech startup in Armenia that catered to the taste of the general public and gained huge success. And I am all about supporting local businesses! 🙂 And in case I haven’t convinced you yet, listen to this IT guy – he is certainly more qualified to evaluate an app than me. Rouben Meschian is an Armenian American IT specialist from Boston, one of the founders of Cambridge Semantics, and also a lecturer at the American University of Armenia. Now… You can download GG here. 🙂
Bonus option: free ggTransfer with Yerevan Card
If you need an airport transfer, GG can offer you that for free if you have the Yerevan Card. In case you have already bought that online you will need to email them your flight information beforehand. If you buy the card right at the airport (the sales point for Yerevan Card is Haypost), you will need to connect to the free wifi and either text or call them at +37444604080 via Viber or WhatsApp to describe where you are.
If you don’t want to use your one-way airport transfer, you can still get 2 free taxi rides in the city (6-8 km each). You will only need to inform them about the ride details in advance. For more info, you can visit this link. And also, in case you want to know all the benefits that Yerevan Card tourist pass offers you can read the link.
Yandex Go app
Yandex Go or Yandex Taxi is another app-based taxi service that brings you rides on demand in Yerevan, and around Armenia. Similar to GG, here you can choose from different options. Depending on the model and condition of the car, you can choose from Start, Comfort, Comfort+, or Business tariffs. There are also cars with children seats, minivans, cargo, delivery, cars that arrive the fastest (similar to ggASAP).
Just like with GG, the prices here also vary a bit. The minimum fare is 300 AMD (0.72 EUR), but it is subject to change due to the same reasons: demand, traffic jams, time, and location. The minimum fair includes 3 min wait time and 1.5 km ride, then you pay not more than 25 AMD for paid waiting and not more than 100 AMD per each additional kilometer On average you will look for a taxi and find one within a minute, so no need to worry about the availability that much. But if you’re outside the city or want to get your taxi sooner, you can always order a car earlier to be on the safer side.
I think it’s also worth mentioning that this is an old taxi app that sort of transitioned into a more Uber-like model. Originally developed by the Russian rival of Google – Yandex, it’s been quite popular in Armenia for a long time. So, over the years I think they lost the sense of quality a bit. But then GG and UTaxi (see below) were established in Yerevan (clearly inspired by the success of Uber abroad), and I think Yandex drivers then realized they should step up their game. So, these days their services are not that bad and in fact, quite popular. It’s also the cheapest option among the existing competitors
|Yandex tariff you choose:||Minimum fare:|
|Comfort +||550 AMD|
With Yandex Go you can also order a taxi for someone else. For that, you only need to select that option and mention their phone number. They will get all the details about the driver and the car related information. And, at the end of the ride, you will be notified that they reached their destination. Isn’t this especially cool when you want to track someone? 🕵️♀️
Although similar to GG and Yandex Taxi, UTaxi is the latest player on the market. Being a young and innovative company in this “Uberesque” world, they are putting a lot of effort into trying to compete with established taxi apps. So, pricing is a bit different here. The minimum fare includes a 3 km ride and 3 min free wait time for Standard, Comfort and Comfort + options and 4 km ride with 5 min free wait time for Business and Minivan options. The prices are the following:
|UTaxi tariff you choose:||Minimum fare:|
|Comfort +||600 AMD|
Starting from the 5th km you pay an extra 100 AMD with Standard, Comfort and Comfort + fares, and 150 AMD with Business and Minivan fairs. It’s very popular among Armenians I know, so I’m guessing the quality of their cars and driving practices can’t be that bad. I haven’t tried UTaxi myself, though.
Keep in mind, though, the average waiting time for your UTaxi to arrive is longer. As more drivers prefer to drive for GG or Yandex taxi, because they pay drivers more, with UTaxi you may need to wait for a bit longer. Also, an odd particularity of this app is that sometimes you might be warned by the add that you need to tip the driver. A pop up would appear before your ride is confirmed and the car only arrives if you agree to tip the driver.
Paying by card for your taxi in Yerevan
When using GG, Yandex or Utaxi, you can pay by card: all you need to do is to register your card in the app. Then you just choose the payment method upon ordering the ride or set your card as the default option. You might not be able to add your card when registering with these taxi apps abroad. For example, GG Taxi app will pick up your location and will inform you that it doesn’t operate outside Armenia. But then, you can add your card as soon as you land in Armenia.
For that, just get yourself a SIM card at the airport (or anywhere in the city) and activate 4G internet. Alternatively, you can connect to the airport’s public Wi-Fi (but it’s obviously not safe for your data). Anyway – Voila! You’re now connected! Now you can set up your app and call a driver.
Location accuracy is not great, don’t blame the driver
Don’t be surprised if your driver doesn’t seem to be too familiar with the functionalities of their own phone. 🙂 Although, using GG I never witnessed this myself, I’ve heard stories from other people who came across drivers who used the app just to accept the order, but then ignored the in-built navigation in it, and drove to the destination by memory (not always successfully).
Google maps app is only 90% reliable in Armenia, even in Yerevan. In comparison to that Yandex maps are much more advanced. So, I generally advice to stick to addresses on the main streets. Avoid pinning your location in the inner yard of your neighborhood. Pinning the location or address of the destination is optional. I was surprised at first, but then I realized most people in Armenia don’t put their destination in the app, and simply tell it to the driver once they’re in the car. I personally prefer knowing the total fare beforehand. So, I always pin the destination when I use local “Ubers” in Yerevan.
Connecting with “Uber” drivers in Yerevan
It is always a good idea to contact the driver via phone call when your car arrives to avoid waiting at the wrong place. In fact, many drivers will probably try to call you anyway, as often customers don’t mark their location correctly and drivers can’t find them. By the way, that’s also true for food delivery apps in Armenia and their delivery staff.
A good old phone call solves this problem. Which is why I recommend you get an Armenian sim card upon arrival, to use it during your stay (check out that link to learn how to get one). Besides the benefits of always being connected through 4G internet, you will be able to communicate with a taxi driver without spending (or making the driver spend) a ton of money on roaming.
Also, note, all above mentioned taxi apps would require a phone number for verification. This phone number is later used to connect the customer with the driver, in case they want to call each other. That’s one more reason why I recommend getting an Armenian SIM card. But if you decide to stay on roaming data, that’s ok for these apps too. You can use an international number to sign up with GG, Yandex Go and UTaxi.
Whichever taxi app you’re using to call your “Uber” in Yerevan, don’t hesitate to contact the support center via the app in case of any problem. They are almost guaranteed to return you the money very promptly. It’s also true for all three apps that they have English speaking operators who should be able to handle your case.
Old school (offline) taxi in Yerevan as an alternative
If you want to do it the old-fashion way, i.e. call a taxi by making a phone call, you should know that traditional taxi services still thrive in Armenia. Pretty much in every neighborhood in Yerevan you can find a taxi operating company that services the area. They also have their fleet somewhere in the area usually, so they arrive very quickly. Typically these taxi services can be ordered via phone that can be found on the entrance door to your apartment building. Look for information flyers, or a number simply spray painted on the door. 🙂
How much does an old school taxi cost in Yerevan?
In regards to prices for traditional taxi services, there is usually a fixed minimum price of 600 AMD for 5 kilometers and an additional 100 AMD rate per kilometer after that. Most of these drivers won’t be able to accept card payments though, so keep that in mind!
Catching taxi on the streets of Yerevan
You can always catch a taxi on the street without ordering beforehand. Just raise your hand and see them stop next to you. In that case, I have one word for you – NEGOTIATE! You will need to bargain over the price as there is no fixed fare. You need to agree on the price beforehand! This will allow you to avoid a situation when the driver surprises you with a ridiculously high number at the end of your ride. Such taxis often try to charge non-Armenians a lot more than they should. So, be bold in your negotiations with the taxi driver. Oh, and don’t expect them to accept cards for payment – only cash.
How to bargain taxi price in Armenia?
When I need to bargain over the price of my ride with a taxi driver in Armenia, I follow these 10 steps, and I highly recommend you do too:
- Greet them through the window and smile.
- Tell them the neighborhood or landmark you need to get to.
- Hear out their ride price offer.
- Shake your head and show them how much you have, or say how much you can offer (I always go for 70% of what I’m actually ready to pay for the ride).
- Watch the driver as they start screaming and raising hands in the air. 🙂
- Ignore that, it’s a game – simply enjoy the process of negotiation!
- Eventually, the driver stops shouting and offers a price at around 130% of an adequate one.
- Keep negotiating until you get the offer you’re willing to accept.
- Sit comfortably in the car and enjoy the ride.
- At the end, tip the driver – pay them more than what you agreed on. Don’t be a jerk! You certainly make more money than they do. Take it as a fee for an emotionally charged theater performance they delivered to you 15 minutes ago. 🙂
Final thoughts. Do I miss Uber in Yerevan?
Absolutely not! As you can see, even though there is no Uber in Yerevan, there are several decent alternatives. I personally love GG, as I said! Anytime I’m bar hopping, visiting some of the best bars in Yerevan, I always know that, when I’m done, GG will get me home, safe and sound. But I also know a lot of people who are loyal to Yandex Taxi, or recently switched to UTaxi. Everyone praises their choice and preaches it to others, so I guess everyone is happy with taxi services they get from these apps.
Whichever taxi option you choose, I wish you safe rides in Yerevan and in Armenia overall. By the way, with all these taxi apps you can get a car ride to different cities in Armenia – they all operate outside of Yerevan just fine.
I hope you found this post about Uber alternatives in Armenia useful! If you like using apps to make your life easier, check out my list of useful apps in Armenia, where you can find a lot of handy tips. In case you end up using my recommended process for bargaining on your taxi ride price in Armenia, let me know! Take a picture with the driver you negotiated with and tweet/instagram it to me with #ArmeniaTravelTips. I’d love to see your happy faces after a joyful ride!
Featured image credit: me 🙂