Getting around in Sri Lanka isn’t too hard since you have a plethora of choices to select from that don’t need booking in advance.
The challenge is that sometimes you want a driver to come to you. Or maybe you have a lot of luggage and you need a car. Or you want to know pricing without having to negotiate or get ripped off.
To solve that, PickMe is a Lyft/Uber-like app that you can use to hail a tuk tuk or a car in Sri Lanka.
We used PickMe six times in Sri Lanka, primarily in Kandy. Couldn’t find any cars in Ella or Galle/Weligama area consistently, although their price calculator is a handy tool in getting a baseline cost to help you negotiate with drivers.
In order to use PickMe, you’ll need a few things:
Hailing Using PickMe
Overall, using PickMe is similar to using something like a Lyft or Uber. It’s a bit wonky, but gets the job done.
Step 1: Open up the PickMe app.
Step 2: Enter in your current location.
GPS is a bit wonky so I recommend a specific address or landmark.
Step 3: Add in your destination.
I’d recommend a specific address.
Step 4: Select a tuk tuk or car type.
Great thing here is that it gives you an estimate of time to arrive at your current location as well as a range of price.
Step 5: Confirm booking and wait for a match.
You’ll get a text message confirming as well as in-app notifications the driver status.
5 Things I Liked About PickMe
- You can add a credit card and charge your rides to that card! Had no issues connecting and charging my US-based card. Cash is an option as well.
- Receipts delivered directly to your inbox so you can keep track of your travel expenses easier.
- Metered fares. This means much cheaper prices than what hailing a tuk tuk or arranging a car via your hotel will give you. You can even use the app as an estimate in bargaining with rides outside the app.
- Pleasant and friendly drivers. Every ride we had featured exceptionally friendly drivers.
- Responsive customer service. Had an issue with a ride, emailed support, and they got back around 24 hours later via email resolving my issue.
4 Things I Didn’t Like About PickMe
- The directory of location names isn’t as comprehensive as what you’d get at home with Lyft or Uber. Putting in an address always worked better.
- Not a lot of drivers. Many times we couldn’t request a car or tuk tuk since no drivers were available, especially before 8AM or in some cities.
- Drivers will still ask you where you want to go even if you input the destination. Only one driver used Google Maps.
- Scheduling a car worked (kinda). A car was assigned and on the way. For some reason after the car arrived, the trip ended before we got on. Had to wait for a second car to come.
Should You Use PickMe?
Overall, I would recommend PickMe since it provides an easy way to book a ride and also has transparent metered pricing that can be paid via credit card. As a tourist, this helps you get a feel for how much a ride would cost.
You’ll have to have some patience though as using PickMe will most likely take longer than just hailing a tuk tuk on the street.
Looking forward to seeing them recruit more drivers and help more people find more rides.3