Ann Gabriel | Yo!Manila
Travelling within the boundaries of Metro Manila has become a hassle nowadays. People are crowding on near the sidewalks hoping to get a jeepney, bus, UV Express or taxi ride. If you happen to experience this just like me, you are what we call a ‘Mandirigmang Commuter’. No, this is not because there is scarcity in public transportation. There are too many cars running on national roads and highways. Most of the public transportation plying around the Mega city often has too many stops to drop and pick-up passengers. That is the reason why traffic is horrific.
Most often than not, office workers take the taxi to make their travelling time much more faster. However, the hassles in taking a taxi is compounded by all too many people taking the taxi as well.
As a millenial, your only advantage over the ones who commute is your ability to have a mobile phone and internet data service.
In the Philippines, there are three apps available that provides transport service, Grab, Uber and UHop. Among the three, I choose Grab over Uber. UHop is good but motorpooling is not to my liking.
Let me try and differentiate the three.
Uber started as a black car booking service in the US. Because of the huge demand, they quickly expanded and added their Uber X (private drivers) service. Today, Uber is available in nearly every country in Southeast Asia, but rates and consumer experiences vary widely.
Uber uses a cash incentive system to both recruit drivers and acquire new riders. However, there is fear that once Uber stops the cash incentive system, the company might die a natural death.
Uber is faced with a lot of challenges.
These are just a few.
Unclear pricing policy. Customers become frustrated most especially in a traffic Metro Manila.
Unreliable internet data. Difficulty in locating the way and ending trips, which causes delay for both driver and passenger/s.
Grab is a private driver booking service from the company called Grabtaxi/MyTeksi. Grabtaxi (called Myteksi in Malaysia) is a service that allows someone to hail a cab from an app rather than grabbing one off the street. It works in a similar format to the traditional call-to- book services. You simply click your location, pay a booking fee, and get a registered taxi. However, seeing how profitable private cars were for Uber, Grabtaxi decided to jump into the space with their own service called Grab.
High popularity: Grab is a very popular app used all around cities in Asia and they are pushing very hard for riders to use their Grab service.
Fixed fares a big advantage: One of the most unique and compelling features about Grab is that, after setting your pickup and drop-off routes, it shows you a set price for the ride. So, say, even if your driver took a longer route or there was traffic, your fare will not change.
Figuring fare parity can be tough: Grab’s set fares are generally higher than normal time taxi fares, though they are similar when surcharges are added to a taxi fare (such as evening or in-city fees). Depending on the city, the impact of this may or may not be relevant to the riders. For example, in Hong Kong there are rarely extra taxi fees while in Singapore they are quite common. This is okay for me, as I am more comfortable is having a set price than a running one, that is dependent on time and number of stops.
Cash payments made it an attractive option: Grab started out as a cash service. This is often an advantage for drivers who specifically want to work for a service that pays cash and for the consumer who doesn’t have a credit card. I don’t have a credit card. Grab was a no-brainer choice for me when I started to use the service.
However, downside is inaccurate maps create delays: Like Uber, Grab’s maps are not always reliable and it can be frustrating to spend minutes looking for your driver who is, according to the map, right in front of you, or take double the time to get to your location.
Extra tolls and taxes still payable: Like other services, you will still have to pay tolls to the driver on top of the fare.
U-Hop is a Filipino-developed service established last July, and is similar to existing app-based transportation services, Uber and Grab. But unlike these two services where one car is deployed to every passenger who requests for it, U-Hop sends shuttles that can seat up to 7 people at a time.
This means more passengers are transported around the metro using fewer vehicles.
Their credo is to maximize the existing number of vehicles, so that it doesn’t add up to Metro Manila’s horrific traffic.
U-Hop has applied for accreditation as a transportation network company (TNC) in order to operate legally under the new rules set by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
The reason why I don’t like U-Hop is because it is a pooling service, it takes a longer time for passengers to fill-up all 7 seats. I don’t like running late for work.
Featured photo is from CNN Philippines