So Tobie finally tried Uber yesterday in order to get to work since his car can't go into Makati on Fridays. It was a mixed experience since the driver had a bit of a challenge finding a way to our side of P.Tuazon, but the ride itself was pretty good. And with their referral program for new riders, it makes it a little easy to at least give the service a try.
I had to detour to Greenhills today after work in order to pick up a copy of the Eric Shanower Oz Compendium that I had reserved at Fully Booked. I didn't feel like the usual MRT commute followed by the walk from the station to the actual shopping mall, so it seemed like a good day to try it out.
Technically Tobie and I had only opted for UberX, which is the cheaper service, but no big deal. Given Tobie's ride and the two rides I took today, all involved pretty new Toyota Vios sedans - mine didn't even have formal license plates yet. And while Tobie's driver had gotten a little, my rides from Makati and Greenhills were both easy bookings that involved just over 5 minutes of waiting time at the most.
Drivers were polite and drove at a comfortable rate - not dangerously fast nor old man driver slow. I got to my destination soon enough with a minimum of fuss. It felt a little weird not paying anything for the rides so far, but the system was pretty efficient. The sheer efficiency of the system was pretty amazing and probably the best aspect of everything. Well that and UberX rates are very close to taxi rates if not sometimes cheaper.
I've tried booking taxis with GrabTaxi previously and those have been rather hit or miss. It's hard to snag a driver on busy days and a lot of times I feel I need to waive a big tip in order to get a driver to commit. Many of them have had issues with their smartphones with one who had tagged me as picked up immediately after responding to my flag down. I waited another 12+ minutes before he finally found me.
And the Uber app seems relatively smarter than GrabTaxi. Searching for locations is a lot easier and I've had better luck tagging the right locations. GrabTaxi links to different networks like Foursquare and Google Maps and yet it always felt annoyingly difficult to get the right location. This may have been more an issue with my mobile browsing speed more than anything else, but we'll see.
Thus far, I'm really happy with Uber. If given a choice between an Uber car and a GrabTaxi hail, I'd definitely go for an Uber ride. The big question is how things might fare during busier periods like rush hour and such. But we'll see how things turn out.
If you want to give Uber a shot, feel free to use my referral code to sign up for the service or enter my code rockys26 using the mobile app as long as you haven't availed of other codes. When you do so you get a free credit of P300 and I'll get P300 added to my account as well - so it's win-win!