Convenience comes with a price: Commuters face difficulty in booking rides amid Christmas rush

December 20, 2022 - 11:08 AM
Motorists experience bumper to bumper traffic along the southbound lane of EDSA Kamuning in Quezon City on December 9, 2022. (The STAR/Jesse Bustos)

Ride-hailing applications in Metro Manila have been the subject of criticism on social media in the past few days amid the onset of the holiday rush.

Several commuters, including some personalities, took to social media to share their unpleasant travel experiences in the region– from difficulty in finding public transportation to getting stuck in heavy traffic.

Difficulty in booking convenience

Vlogger Awra Briguela and “Drag Race Philippines” Season 1 contender Minty Fresh voiced their frustrations to Grab Philippines on December 17 on Twitter.

“Parang wala nang driver si @grabph,” Awra tweeted.

“Delete nalang natin Grab app wala na ata silang drivers,” Minty said.

Several other users also shared that it was a struggle for them to book rides from other ride-hailing apps such as Joyride and Angkas.

On December 14, market surveillance analyst John Paul Tanyag tweeted that he also saw long lines of commuters waiting in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.

Tanyag said that it was also hard for him to book a ride from there.

“So wait or walk na lang as per our best and brightest friends,” Tanyag quipped.

He accompanied his tweet with a photo of a line of commuters at a terminal in BGC.

In a lengthy rant, a Facebook user named David Perez also shared his frustrating experience with taxi drivers who insisted on flat rates instead of running their meters.

He also shared that ride-hailing app taxi drivers are rejecting their fares.

Because of these experiences, he expressed empathy for Atom Araullo. Araullo previously tweeted about the lack of public transport options at the airport.

“Unfortunately, I suffered the same fate as Atom THRICE in 24 hours,” the online user said.

Perez then ended his rant with his conclusion about the car-centric environment in the country.

“As long as Grab, taxi franchises, and the government work together to make the Philippines a living hell, cars will rule the world,” the online user said.

Araullo’s tweets about the lack of transport service at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport triggered a renewed clamor for better mass transit in the country.

READ: Gov’t owned agency told to be proactive after Atom Araullo tweets NAIA transport experiencePSA: MIAA teams up with Grab Philippines for ‘Airport to Anywhere’ transport service .

Commuters resorting to other means

Amid the holiday traffic, several Filipinos online also shared their observations that some commuters resort to going to Facebook groups and communities where they negotiate fares with Grab drivers instead of booking via the ride-hailing application.

“People are resorting to Facebook groups to book a ride home. This is what Christmas is like,” photojournalist Jilson Tiu wrote.

“Commuters resort to booking Grab through FB communities, offering their own price or adding an amount on top of Grab rate. Ganitong-ganito sa taxi, online nga lang. Walang pinagkaiba. People use Grab for convenience, but what happens when it’s also inconvenient?” a Twitter user tweeted.

Twitter user @emkey observed that some people hire courier services Transportify and Lalamove so they could reach their destinations.

“The transportation system in the Philippines is so broken that people have been literally dehumanizing themselves by using Transportify and Lalamove and basically getting transported as human cargo,” the Twitter user said.

Aside from the three companies mentioned, the other transport network companies that are approved by the government are as the following:

  • TokTokgo
  • OWTO
  • ePickMeUp

On Monday, a transport group called on the government to address the insufficient public transportation amid the increasing commuter woes.

Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide or Piston in a statement said that the current administration should look for pro-people solutions instead of waiting for international fuel prices to go down.

RELATED: Transport group: Oil price hike, commuter lines, congested roads require pro-people solutions