July 25, 2015

Commuting in Manila: Uber or Grab Taxi?

A lot of my friends are asking me about the difference between Grab Car/Grab Taxi and Uber (and why I prefer Uber). Here's a quick review/comparison of the Grab Car and Grab Taxi and Uber.  I feel more comfortable writing about the private car services and e-hailing applications now that I have been using  (or should I say try to use) their services.

First off, my commuter profile: I am your typical commuter. I live in Manila. I don't have my own car (and I don't have plans of buying one at this moment - and if I do, it is because I want to be an Uber partner. Haha). I take jeepney going to the nearest mall in the house. I take MRT and LRT trains when I need to get to my destination and time is limited. When I was still working, I take cab to and from the office (and I use the time on the road to blog/answer personal emails or just sleep). I (can) take public buses (but I am always paranoid about robbers and holdapers). :) 

Click Read More to read my review and comparison of Grab Taxi and Uber...

My First Uber Ride

As a blogger, I am privileged to be invited to product launches. When Uber was first introduced in the Philippines, I was one of the first to get to try the service. There was no Uber X at that time then. Read about my first Uber experience here. A few months after, Uber introduced the Uber X which sends more affordable alternative car service (instead of sending luxurious cars). 

(1) Inside our Uber Ride with Sarah (2) My first Uber ride

My First Grab Car Ride (see updates below - October 2015)

I was also one of the firsts to try the Grab Car when it was introduced. During the launch, Grab sent a private car to pick me up and send me to the event venue. Read about my Grab Car experience. Ironically, that was my first and last Grab Car ride (keep reading!).

After trying both services - Grab Taxi/Grab Car and Uber, I prefer and mostly use Uber X. A few months ago, it was so difficult to book an Uber Car in our area. The ones that I have luckily booked were cars who dropped off passengers in the area and luckily ended the trip just when I was trying to book (or, they are Uber partners who live in our area). Now that there are more and more Uber partners, I find it easier to book an Uber X Car. 

My Uber rides are always good and pleasant. Here are the list of reasons why I love Uber:
  • Drivers are pleasant and courteous.
  • When booking from a different area going home, I have never experienced a driver who complained about my destination or the traffic or the narrow roads. 
  • Uber cars are always clean. Some cars even offer FREE candies or bottled water. 
  • There is no bidding process in Uber - when you see available cars in the app, you just book and they would come to pick you up. 
  • I can book a ride even if I don't have money (it happened to me!). I booked an Uber going to the event and I just withdrew money when I got the chance to go to the mall. 

Reporting Uber Driver/ Complaints

Well, of course, it was not always a fairy tale with Uber, I once experienced a driver who booked me and called me to ask for my destination before picking me up. He requested for me to double the price because "of traffic". When I declined, he asked me to just cancel the booking. I immediately reported the case to the Uber Customer support. I was (again) instantly impressed with the service (a rarity at this digital era where people always resort to social media rant).  I received a response within a few minutes (it was probably because Uber rarely received complaints). 

Uber Surge Charge

When traffic is crazy and there are limited Uber Cars available in the area, Uber app notifies passengers of surge charges before proceeding to book. Surge charge can be as low as x1.2 or as high as x5. It means that there's an additional fee added based on the surge charge rate that you have agreed on.

You can check the sample receipt of my ride below with surge charge and Toll Fee (yes, toll fees are charged in the ride - so make sure your driver pays for it!). 

I still prefer booking via Uber even there is additional surge charge fee. I would rather pay for it than deal with the inconvenience of hailing a cab, negotiating for a price and hearing the driver's complaints en route to my destination. I would rather pay for my safety and peace. :)

Always Trying to Book for Grab Taxi or Grab Car

At desperate times when I cannot book an Uber X car, I try booking via Grab Car. But it is always a disappointment especially when booking from home (Manila). The worse thing is seeing more than two dozen of Grab Taxi partner cars in the app and looking at the Grab Taxi app as it bids/pleads for a driver to book you. It is worse than breakup. It is worse than hearing a sad song. Very frustrating. 

So even if Grab Taxi or Grab Car always releases Promo Code (for waived booking fee or Php100 off). I didn't get to avail of their services. I am not the only one who have experienced this disappointing bidding process with Grab Taxi. I was with friends a few nights ago when we decided to spend time in a coffee shop to let rush hour pass. When we decided to book taxi services, they spent more than an hour booking for Grab Taxi. While I enjoy my time playing Deal or No Deal with Uber (surge charge played from 1.7 to 2.5 to 1.6. to 2.3 that night) - meaning, I waited for the surge charge to drop but every 2 minutes it changed/increased and decreased. I dealt at 1.7. Haha. My friends were able to book a Grab Taxi after 1.5 hours. Grab Taxi Drivers can be very choosy. 

The Grab Car experience was more disappointing. On the night of the launch, I was trying to book a Grab Car in Makati (going home to Manila). We saw 5 Grab Cars available in the app BUT no one booked me.  My friend was able to book a car and she was charged Php700+ (+ toll fee) going home to Alabang. Rejection hurts. Thankfully, a Grab Taxi came to my rescue. He asked for additional tip though. Read the whole story.

Maybe it was just the timing and location for me. I know a lot of friends who love Grab Taxi services because they feel safer (compared to Uber which uses private cars). There are some who really made use of the Php100 off promo and only get to pay Php20 for some of their rides. 

Here's a summary for your reference:

Comparison:Grab Car vs Grab Taxi vs Uber X


Updating this entry because ... Grab Car has improved their service. Drivers no longer see the requester's destination and they easily accept requests. And yes, I have tried and rode with Grab Car on days when Uber is unavailable.

The drivers are also nice and professional. Some of the ones I encountered are previous Grab Taxi or Taxi drivers but I am glad that they are more professional when dealing with passengers.

When it comes to fee, it seems that Grab Car charges more than Uber (they are probably have hidden surge charges). Take for example, the other night, I was in Shangrila Mall and I checked the Grab Car fee from Shangrila Mall to Manila (Php 298). I was ready to request for Grab Car but Uber surge dropped to 1.4 and I decided to book Uber instead. When I got my bill (total was Php 258 - despite 1.4 surge). 

I think Grab Car works perfectly when traffic is really crazy and you don't want to worry about metered fee. My only problem is (almost) forgetting to pay for my trip because I got used to paying via Credit Card.

Speaking of Cash Payments. Uber now accepts Cash Payments.

We all have different preferences when going from point A to B. I cannot really say which one is the best. I am just glad that there are Uber Cars (and Grab Taxi for others) to save me when I don't feel like riding a jeep and taking the MRT. 

How do you go around the metro?
Do you prefer Uber or Grab Taxi?

Share your commuting stories below. :) 

** First time Uber Riders, get Php 200 off your first ride 
with PROMO CODE: uberruthilicious

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