Sunday, October 26, 2014

Uber Versus TradCab. And Versus LTFRB?!

Last April, when Sharkteeth was attending a writing workshop in Pasig, I stayed in a hotel in Shaw Boulevard and spent most my time meeting up with friends. To get around Makati and Pasig, I mostly used Uber cars. The very first one I rode had diplomatic plates, and the driver said that Anne Curtis was once a passenger. Therefore, nadikit ang puwet ko sa inupuan ni Anne Curtis. #MyBrushWithACelebrity Hahahahahahaha! 

I was quite impressed with the service because the cars were clean and mabango – walang Shaldan or California Scents. Most traditional cabs (TradCab) use air fresheners, which not so much as freshen the air as pollute it. Parang tao lang na naliligo sa pabango, feeling ko ay may itinatago. LOL! Tangent thought: Back when we were living in Laguna, I take the bus to work. Minsan may sumakay na guy sa may Muntinlupa. Nasa may unahan pa lang sya ng bus, naaamoy ko na ang kanyang ultramacho-brusko-poging-pogi-ako perfume. I silently prayed: "Lord, huwag sa malapit sa akin umupo. Please lang. May migraine ako." Dun sa tabi ko umupo. What a sense of humor.

Mabalik tayo sa Uber. The drivers I encountered were all courteous and not too chatty. They even open the door for you and help you with your things. God knows kung ilang TradCabs na ang nasakyan ko na nagkukwento ang driver ang kanyang talambuhay. There was this one who was so bitter because his girlfriend had their baby aborted. Ramdam na ramdam ko ang poot nya. Medyo kinabahan ako nun kasi I was 3 or 4 months’ pregnant, and I was afraid that my belly bump might remind him of his loss and ako pa ang pagbuhusan ng galit. There was this fairly recent one, kasama ko pa si S, nag-ra-rant din ang driver kasi kinaliwa at iniwan sya ng asawa nya for a bum. It was so uncomfortable kasi S couldn't understand the things the driver was saying and was making me explain to her why his ex-wife took his phone and money.

And most importantly, I feel safe in an Uber car. In the USA, there were reports of abusive Uber drivers, with some threatening the life of the passenger, but so far, the drivers here in the Philippines are excellent. Meanwhile, ang TradCabs left and right ang reports of mugging, theft, kidnapping, at kung ano-ano pang kabalbalan. It's like you're half on your way to death pag sumakay ka ng taxi. Kaya pag sumakay ako ng TradCab, I text TheHusband the TradCab company and body and plate numbers.

Maikwento ko lang yung isang ride ko sa Uber that really impressed me so much, not only with the price but with the patience of the driver as well. I met up with friends in Magallanes, and the Uber car picked me up there. We went to Glorietta, passing thru the driveway of Glorietta 4 to hand some tax papers to Onyxx. On my way to the hotel, S sent a message that she wants some ice cream. So I asked the driver to find a convenience store and then proceed to St. Paul's Pasig. I asked him to wait while I find S to give her the tub of ice cream, after which hinatid na ako sa hotel. My total fare was 302 pesos only. Wala man lang reklamo driver sa dami ng stops ko. Kung sa TradCab yun, dadabog-dabog na driver if not outright nag-decline sa requests ko.

Ang hindi ko lang masyadong gusto sa Uber, the drivers are not as bihasa sa mga kalye-kalye ng Metro Manila, compared with TradCab drivers. I was expecting that they already know the streets and shortcuts, but a couple of drivers had to ask me how to go to our destination. It is understandable though, as it's not a cab company per se. Besides, meron namang Waze.

So you can imagine my disappointment now that LTFRB is hot on the trail of Uber and is cracking down on the Uber drivers, not really on Uber itself. I understand that Uber is operating without a franchise, hence incurring the ire of LTFRB. Gets ko yun. But what I didn't like was this part:

LTFRB said public safety is their primary concern, as it is their “mission to… improve transportation options and consumer safety.” LTFRB said they have also received complaints from taxi operators about competition arising from Uber vehicles [emphasis mine].

Ganun? Dahil nagreklamo ang mga TradCab operators? Para saan pa ang competitive market kung hahayaan na walang competitor ang TradCab companies, with their awful and very lousy service? With their shortchanging, if not outright mugger, drivers, their batintings, their choosiness pag peak hours, their garapalang paghingi ng tip. Services and goods improve when consumers have more choices, that's a fact. I think it's high time that LTFRB protect the interest of the people, not those cab companies. Buti pa MMDA, they understand the sentiments of the Uber-riding public, and their actions show that they are pro-people. Ewan ko lang ang ibang sangay ng gobyerno...nuninuninuninu...


  1. Is Uber still working? Sayang, hindi ko pa man nasusubukan eh nanganganib na... Actually cheaper sila as compared sa on-call taxi that comes with add-ons. Ang wish ko pa naman, they expand their operations outside Makati. Instead of killing their operations, sana LTFRB can require some mechanism or requirements to ensure passenger safety.. And a little note to LTFRB, I'm always half afraid and worried whenever I ride the regular taxi alone. If that's their concern with Uber, why not do something with the regular taxis din naman.

  2. I think it still is, pero LTFRB might scare off the drivers. LTFRB's punitive action is toward the driver lang, not on Uber, the company.

    Totoo yang sinabi mo regarding safety. Di nga ako maka-idlip pag nasa taxi ako. :( Ako pa naman si konting byahe lang tulog agad.

  3. I'm all for having options. And better options at that. Di rin ako kampante kapag tradcabs kasi lagi ako may duda sa driver at puro dasal na sana safe ako hanggang makauwi. Kapag nasa tapat na ng house, doon ako super thankful at doon ko pa lang iisipin magkano iti-tip ko depende sa behavior ng driver towards me. Meron kasi mabait pero tahimik, mabait pero super daldal, tahimik pero parang may kalokohan, madaldal na maloko, etc. Matagal na rin ako hingi nakapagtaxi. So far, I've had no bad experience pa naman with taxi drivers, thank goodness.

    P.S. Hindi ko pa na-try ang Uber. But I downloaded the app already and signed up for an account thru Leah's code. I like how you could pay thru credit cards. :)

  4. Ganun naman dapat diba? May options. Because ultimately, they should be serving the paying public. Ang attitude kasi ng TradCab, parang monopoly nila.

  5. i haven't tried Uber yet, pero i might eventually... let's talk about it when you get here in December :)

  6. Anonymous5:53 AM

    Son has been riding uber if office car isn't available and he's all praises for it. It's such a pity if this service is stopped without a corresponding improvement in our cabs. Even GT is no match for Uber. Inis. Besides, Uber sometimes charges lower than ordinary cabs some of whose drivers are impossible!

  7. Onyxx, sige, and I'll give you my referral number para pareho tayong may 300-peso free ride. :)
    Derdo (I know it's you kahit anonymous, hehehe), totoo. And besides, kahit siguro may dagdag na charge okay lang as long as I feel safe from mugger-drivers.


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