Update: Jan 30 2017 Please note that weliveinaflat.com does not recommend PetMate. I personally have deleted the app and do not use it anymore. You should check out the less costly and yet friendlier pet taxi Pawmigos if you need more reliable service with a human touch. ;)
I have been sending Donna to daycare regularly for a month, and I explored using PetMate or dialing direct through the Comfort Taxi hotline on Monday a few weeks back.
PetMate is what is known as the Uber for pets. It connects you to private drivers who are totally open to ferrying pets, with or without being accompanied by humans. So unlike Comfort cab, Grab or Uber, you know for sure the driver is not going to reject your dog even before booking.
I found that PetMate is not affordable for my regular trips to Donna’s daycare which is just 15min drive away. But when venturing further from home for doggy outings the PetMate service can certainly take the headache out of coordinating transport, especially if you are going to remote locations. Read on for details! ;)
PetMate vs Regular Taxi Fare – SHORT TRIPS
I needed to send Donna to daycare during the morning peak hour traffic that Monday. In general, it can be an absolute horror to get cabs during peak hours, even more so when it starts to rain.
Taxi peak hours
Mon – Fri 6:00am – 9:30am
Mon – Sun, public holidays 6:00pm – midnight
PetMate by Carpal
OK, so I downloaded the app to see how much it would cost to go from Ang Mo Kio to Lichfield Road near Serangoon Gardens, about 15min drive away.
My plan was to pet-cab to Lichfield Road, deposit Donna, and then Comfort-cab to Lavender where I had a meeting. The quote came up to almost $30 to get from Ang Mo Kio to Lichfield Road – a 15min journey. So the total travel costs just wouldn’t make sense at all. If the short trip to Donna’s daycare already costs close to $30, it makes Donna’s overall cost for daycare incredibly expensive. That was not acceptable to me.
So I thought I’ll call in to Comfort’s hotline and make an advance booking instead, knowing that it will cost a flat $8, on top of peak hour surcharges on metered fare.
The only problem was, no taxi driver picked up the advanced booking request! So one hour into the time I was scheduled to leave, I still didn’t have any confirmed mode of transportation. :(
Anyway, when I was ready to leave I called Comfort again to make a regular cab booking ($3.30 on top of metered fare and surcharges) and finally managed to get a nice lady driver who picked us up. By then we were late of course.
Comparing Costs for Short Trips: PetMate vs Comfort Taxi
The whole trip from Ang Mo Kio to Lichfield Road to drop off Donna and continue on to Lavender with the same driver using Comfort taxi, cost me about $22.50. It was infinitely cheaper for the whole route I wanted to make, compared to PetMate, $27.25 just for Ang Mo Kio to Lichfield only. It would also be interesting to check out Uber charges, which I didn’t do this time round. I do not use Grab due to unpleasant experiences and disappointing service.
Thankfully Mr P was available to drive Donna to daycare when his reservist was over. The accumulated costs long term will be significant otherwise.
Donna loves car-rides but not all drivers welcome Donna. Follow @weliveinaflat on Instagram.
PetMate vs Regular Taxi Fare – LONG TRIPS
After writing my experiences above (at that point in time this post was in draft), I was coincidentally contacted by PetMate to try out their service. I was happy to accept since it only seemed fair to try the actual service before publishing an article that is going to say nothing much beyond they are too expensive for my regular use to and fro Donna’s daycare nearby. Perhaps they have some valuable qualities that I wasn’t thinking about?
We had signed up to a group Lazarus Island Trip with 29 other dogs. For this trip, we were sharing the cab with Mickey the Japanese Spitz.
When I keyed in the pickup location (Ang Mo Kio) and destination (Marina South Pier where we will board the ferry to Lazarus Island) into the PetMate app, I was expecting to see significantly higher costs for this route compared to the shorter route to Donna’s daycare ($27.25). So I was surprised and somewhat puzzled that the quote for this trip was $30.66. Only $3 more!??
I eventually booked the round trip so I needn’t worry about getting back home. The total cost ended up to be $55.19. The quote given in the app is the final cost and is inclusive of any additional charges like ERP and even entry costs into Sentosa. It also included making a turn to pick up Mickey and his mom who live in the same neighbourhood. So if this trip weren’t sponsored by PetMate, we would have split the cost and paid $27.60 each between Mickey’s mom and I. To me, that’s pretty affordable for a round trip.
A similar single trip to Marina South Pier from Ang Mo Kio using Comfort Taxi would have cost an estimated $18.50-$25.00, depending on route, traffic conditions and excluding toll and location charges. Multiply that by two, a round trip would have cost anywhere between $37-$50. That’s quite a range. So going by the Comfort Taxi estimated fare could still either be more affordable or only slightly cheaper than PetMate.
PetMate however, does have the following plus points:
- You won’t get a rejection after a driver has accepted the booking
I have had ample opportunities to cab with Donna to and fro her therapy work and also her daycare. There will always be cab drivers who are friendly to dogs, AND also unfriendly cab drivers who make errors. They accept a booking not realising I have a dog on leash, turn up and reject to drive us, making us late. There have been good days where I was pleasantly surprised by regular taxi drivers who offer to continue driving Donna and I after I pick her up from daycare, and frustrating days that made me so angry. The service is inconsistent. You wouldn’t have such a problem with a service that is specifically for pets. You will always have good days. ;P
- Your driver will understand dogs shed and get dirty on outings
A pet-dedicated service with drivers who understand dogs wouldn’t be upset if your dog is shedding over the seat. Or when your dog hops onto the car still with traces of sand on her like ours did after the Lazarus Island trip. Dogs shed. And dogs like to roll in dirt.
Regular taxi-drivers do, because as one taxi driver shared with me, while he doesn’t mind ferrying the odd dog, it can affect their business when parents with kids complain that the taxi is unsanitary because of the dog hair left on the seat. I have on occasion given the taxi-driver an additional $5 so he can go get his car vacuumed after he drove us.
Eventually, it just seemed easier to train Donna to sit on the car floor (pictured above) than on the car seat, which presents less problem to the driver. But it probably isn’t as comfortable or as safe as for a dog to sit on the car seat and be clipped securely with a safety harness (if you own one).
- No worries about not leaving on time or waiting an hour for your booking to be accepted during peak hours or at remote locations.
I had problems making an advanced booking with Comfort Taxi (as described earlier in this article) and was late for my meeting because of that. I had no problems getting an advance booking with PetMate. The driver was on time but I was the one who was late. :P
PetMate allowed booking for a round trip, so we could get on the cab speedily and without hassle after arriving at the ferry terminal from Lazarus, and be on our way to the grooming appointment we made in advance for the dogs. It was all very efficient.
I do feel a great frustration with regular taxi drivers some days, which is why on days when P is unable to drive and I just want to take my dog out somewhere further and have a 100% fun time, a pet-dedicated service definitely has value. I don’t bring her out to new places every weekend, so when I do, I want to be able to spend that valuable time having fun with her rather than wasting my time worrying about transportation and unpleasant drivers.
If you worry about cost, you can plan to share it. PetMate offers a flat quote regardless of the number of dogs/humans sharing the transport. And they have 7-seater options too for large families or group outings. ;)
And, right now you can get 10% off your PetMate fare when you use this promo code “welovedonna“, so a round trip for us from AMK to Sentosa’s Tanjung Beach and back will cost $53.87,
inclusive of Sentosa entry fees PLUS Sentosa entrance fees. Generally, the cost quoted on the PetMate app is what you pay for, unless you are going to Sentosa.
So if you are exploring transport options to take you and your dog(s) out this weekend, you can easily download PetMate for your mobile phone and check out the cost by getting a quote for your trip, before deciding how you want to get there and back again. ;)
Disclosure: Our PetMate car ride to and from Marina South Pier was a free trial from PetMate. The driver was very friendly and helped to carry my many bags. :P Much appreciated. Also many thanks to Wendy who responded to my queries even when it was in the middle of the night on a weekend. :P
YOUR THOUGHTS PLEASE!
- Have you tried PetMate before? How was your experience?
- What do you think of the price comparison? Fair or still too pricey?
- What adventures are you going on this weekend?? :D
Comment below ;)