• The front seat in a taxi is dreaded because of the need for perfect taxi maths.
  • Taxi drivers frown on aids like phones (or calculators).
  • We tried four taxi maths apps for those willing to take their phones out at all – and found a winner.

If you are in the front seat of a taxi you have to be fast, you have to be precise and (if you don't want a disapproving driver) you can't use any calculating aids.

That would not a problem if every fare was a nice round number and every person in a 16-seater Quantam paid with correct change – but that hardly ever happens. And that makes the front seat the most dreaded in any taxi.

We tried four apps that promises to change all that. And found one clear winner.

Mzansi Taxi Fare

The simple mode is just that. We fed it the fare of R14 for three passengers who paid with a R50 note. The app immediately kicks out the fare total (R42) and the change due (R8). But you knew that right?

It is in advanced mode that this app shines, with its option to save the calculation. This comes in handy for when you find yourself in the front seat again. And again.


Taxi Calculator

If you have the time to add in all the money that comes to the front row by row, then this app would live up to its welcoming promise: that it will give you the confidence to sit in the front seat again.

We put in R14 for three, four and five people consecutively and still had to figure out how much that all should add to – before figuring out how much had actually been handed up.

Thanks, but no thanks.


Taxi Fare Helper

This one is supremely pratical: for up to 21 passengers, it calculates the fare due per individual or group. The job of calculating how much change to give from the cash handed forward is still up to you – but at least you know how much every row should be paying, and what the taxi as a whole owest the driver.


Taxilator

The moment you log in, this app wants to know if your trip has more than one fare, which is handy if you are taking multiple taxis and need to make sure you have the cash. It will also help calculate the money owed to the driver by a group of passengers – across multiple screens, unlike Taxi Helper's much faster method of getting there.


The best by far: Taxi Fare Helper

The hard part of taxi maths is figuring out how much is due from each row. Figuring out the change is easy – as long as you know what is due to the driver.

With Taxi Fare helper you can punch in the fare and, at a glance, see what each row owes by its number of occupants, as well as how much the driver expects from the minibus as a whole.

And that, it turns out, is everything we need.

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