What are our usual transport problems?
- High fuel cost
- Maintenance cost
- Cramped, unsafe public transportation
- Hassles of driving
The list goes on.
So when I tried my first Uber ride early last year courtesy of a friend who hailed the ride from Ortigas to my home, I was immediately smitten. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, read about it and soon had the Uber app in my phone. All the transport problems I hate dealing with are wiped out. It became my preferred mode of transpo when I need to go somewhere that is not easily accessible. I seldom ride taxis because I don’t feel safe. Uber is just the right vehicle for me because it is cost-efficient, reliable and safe compared to riding ordinary taxis.
Ridesharing is a global phenomenon that has seen a lot of start ups like Uber trounced Fortune 500ers in a short time. Juno, a 100-employee startup still in stealth mode, is launching a ride-sharing app in New York City and will going after Uber’s market share.
Ridesharing is the sharing of vehicles by passengers to reduce vehicle trips, traffic congestion and automobile emissions. Types of transportation that are considered ridesharing include carpool, vanpool, and transit or public transport.
Both hubby and I don’t bring our cars to the office…. Hubby, because an office car fetches him. Me, because it can be expensive and burdensome to bring a car to Makati where I work. I specially loathe finding a parking space. Before, I take the UV Express vans daily. Being a preferred mode of transportation among riders from areas or villages who want convenience and safety, these ubiquitous UV Express vans exercised some sort of monopolistic power over their riders that they don’t care anymore if their service is shabby or poor. The vehicles would sometimes be not in good running condition and I have some experience getting stalled and being late or not being able to report to work. Since the vans are full, the temperature would soar and it would feel like being roasted in an oven on a hot summer day. Some drivers, for some reason, would put the aircon setting at a minimum. Getting in and out of the 3 to 4-row vans would also be inconvenient especially when those alighting first are at the back rows. My latest issue is fitting 8 riders into a 7-seater bench. If all riders have small frames, this should not be a problem. But we know, this is not the case. With the launching of P2P Premium Bus in the second quarter of 2016, I immediately tried it and have since been a regular rider.
I have not used a Grab until our last travel when we couldn’t book an Uber car. MD tried booking a Grab taxi and she told me there is also a Grab car plus credit card payment is also accepted. We booked a Grab car and had the same pleasant experience as riding an Uber car. Going back from that travel, we also booked a Grab car because of a fare surge for an Uber car when we were booking the ride to get home. Grab doesn’t have fare surge but it has a minimum fare pegged at P80.00.
The reason I didn’t patronize Grab before was because the option in the beginning was a Grab taxi to be paid in cash and as mentioned I do not relish the idea of riding taxis. I wasn’t also familiar how it works. I actually like the idea of no cash out when dealing with an Uber car. Lately, Uber, is also accepting cash to serve the portion of the market which do not have credit cards.
Currently, its availability in the South where I live is limited. The recent suspension of LTFRB on issuance of new TNVS would further diminish the number of Uber and Grab cars that serve clients willing to pay more for better and safer service.
I am supposed to give 100% endorsement to these two ride sharing transport options….. but the recent detestable news about an Uber driver made me have reservations on its safety considering the revelation of a Grab car partner/driver that there is not much due diligence done when screening a driver. Submission of required documents is the only prerequisite. There is no background or character check done.
The verdict is ….. Use it with same caution one would exercise in riding taxis. In everything, we must exercise caution and ensure our safety since we are patronizing a car driven by someone we’ve seen only through an app. We can never be too comfortable. For your and your loved ones sake, if you will be using a public transpo including Uber and Grab, ensure that the plate number, names and other details are shared with a friend or loved one while you are cruising and be responsible enough in informing him/her that you have reached your destination.
For Uber and Grab, some safety feature must also be incorporated in your platform for potential victims to have an option of informing your operation center in real-time if something unfortunate is happening or has happened .
I hope that the LTFRB will lift its suspension of Uber and Grab applications to make the transport industry more competitive and allow us, the riding public, a wider choice in our daily commute. Add to that a possibility in the future of lesser private car ownership with an efficient, reliable and safe transportation network. Then, we can all contribute to lesser traffic congestion.