Didi Explained: ExpressPool vs Express vs Select [Luxe, Express, Premier, Taxi]

Didi is the Uber/Lyft of China. You can use it to grab a quick cab ride with only your smartphone. Didi is my preferred method of transit in China because I am able to quickly and easily tell the driver where I’m going (by punching it into the app) and I know in advance how much the ride will cost– no dreaded cab meter running while you’re stuck in traffic behind an accident.

When it comes to Didi, there are several ‘categories’ of drivers you can select for your ride. These include:

  • Luxe
  • Express
  • Premier
  • Taxi

Didi Luxe is a premium service which lets you schedule your ride by selecting which luxury car you would like a ride in. At the time of writing, this includes an Audi A6L, Mercedes-Benz E-Class vehicles, and a BMW 5 Series. Since the amount of Didi drivers sporting these cars is limited, this service is best for scheduled-only rides meaning you’ll have to know in advance when you want to get a ride in one of these.

Didi Express includes several sub types:

  • ExpressPro – Akin to ‘Uber Pool’ your Didi route may be shared with other riders heading in the same direction as you are
  • Express – You’ll get the closest available Didi, which may include a driver new to the service with less experience.
  • Select – You’ll be riding with a well-rated Didi driver with experience of giving many rides in the city.

I’ve personally tried out both the Expres and Select service and noticed a worthwhile difference in the driver’s experience and smoothness of the ride. It was worth the extra $2 USD for me.

Didi Premier includes the premium and professional drivers on Didi. Premier drivers are a step up from Select drivers in that they have 5-star ratings and are known to be professional drivers in higher-end vehicles. Didi Premier has 3 options, all of which are “100% driver certified and 100% professional service”.

  • Comfort – enjoy a worry-free ride with a professional Didi driver
  • 6-seater business car – ride-with-friends in this SUV sized vehicle and a professional driver
  • Luxery – get nicest vehicle and a professional driver

Didi Taxi provides a way to call a taxi with metered fare. No different than calling or waving down a taxi, but you do it with an app.

If you need some more tips and tricks on China apps and traveling, check out Shanghai Advice