When GrabTaxi announced their 100 pesos off your ride promo, I decided to give it a try. Here’s what happened.
From Mandaue, I needed to head to pier one to catch a boat to Bohol. I downloaded the app. Registered my number and email. Input my location and my destination.
Less than 5 minutes later a taxi arrived in front of our gate.
For the uninitiated, GrabTaxi is an application that allows you to hail a cab via your phone. Technology is most awesome when it resembles a video game. Summon a taxi with a press of a button and it magically appears in front of you. Easy.
“Technology is most awesome when it resembles a video game.”
As soon as I sat in the cab, the driver started chatting me up. I actually enjoy talking to them. Quick confession – More than once, I’ve day dreamed about what it would be like to drive a cab for a living. I’ve imagined what strategies I would use to get a good volume of costumers (always stay in the malls and don’t drive around aimlessly). I’ve asked them how much a cab costs to rent out (I forgot). I’ve listened to their stories of close encounters with dangerous costumers (usually involves drunk kids).
The taxi driver, let’s call him Pedro, was incredibly nice. He started talking about Grab Taxi as soon as I got in the car. Pedro was enthusiastic and optimistic about the service. Quick tidbits about Grab Taxi: The drivers get a commission for every “grab” they get. Deservedly so. Drivers need to pay for the special GrabTaxi phone unit in their cars. As of this writing, Cebu users aren’t charged a fee. In Manila, users are charged P70 on top of the cab fare. The 100 pesos off your ride promo was subsidized by GrabTaxi. If your ride cost less than 100 pesos, you get the ride for free.
As we were talking, I didn’t even realize that I didn’t tell him where to go. Of course, he already knew via the app. I only thought about it when he asked me where I wanted to pass, knowing that there was a lot of road work in Mandaue at the time.
I didn’t expect a taxi to arrive soon after I pressed the button on the app. As a result, I left much earlier than expected. Heck, I had enough time to write most of this at the pier.
It’s good to see these things start cropping out of our city.
That being said, the ride back to Mandaue from the pier was very different.
Here’s an example of what everyone hates about technology.
Press the button to summon a taxi, wait 5 minutes, press it again, wait again, oh look… a slight drizzle, press it again, full on rain shower, run for shelter, press it again, look for a seat, press it again and finally a taxi magically appears. Total waiting time was 30 minutes.
The ride back was during rush hour. I’m guessing many GrabTaxi drivers were expecting heavy traffic between the pier and Mandaue. My travel request probably wasn’t very appealing. Of course, there are many other possibilities. It could have easily been peak hours for them and they simply didn’t have enough drivers. Or maybe there weren’t many drivers in the area at that time.
It’s fine. I get it. It’s not perfect, but it’s still cool that we have these services available to us now. Whatever makes public transportation more efficient is a good thing. If that means cars carrying two people instead of one, I’ll take it.
Now if only we had Uber or a GrabTaxi for tricycles and bikes.
Just putting it out there.