My UBER Experience - Tried UBER for the First Time!

Posted by Orlando Calundan at 9:59 AM

Heard of UBER?

It's a new app developed by a relatively new business (well, at least new in the Philippines perhaps) that caters generally to commuters. It's somewhat similar to GrabTaxi and EasyTaxi, if you know any of them.

The difference is, you will not be riding a public utility vehicle but a private car. Their tagline - "Everyone's private driver".

I there are to many questions running in your mind having read the introduction and let's answer those one-by-one and as many as possible as you are reading this post. Click here, if you want to sign up and try UBER.

How to Use Uber?


Using as well as signing-up for Uber is easy. Registration usually takes around 5 to 10 minutes, provided you have all the information required and after that, you're on the go.

  1. Download and install the app from the Apple Store or the Google Play.
  2. Register/Sign-up, click Here.
  3. During your first sign-up, you may be asked for a code (Promo Code) so that you can enjoy the P300 credit. Type this code --> UBER300CR 
  4. Also, you will be required to key in your credit card details (for billing purposes).  Don't worry, based on experience so far, it is safe.
  5. You may also have to verify your e-mail and cellphone number.

After all is set, you are prepared to use Uber! Now your next step is to navigate thru the app.


My Uber Experience


Soo... It's my first ride and here are my expectations based on what I read during research:

  • It would be costly - my reading tells me that it's around 120% to 200% of your regular taxi ride. One friend of mine who already tried it said it's 125% to 175% expensive than a regular taxi ride.
  • It's safe and drivers are courteous.
  • The driver will be slightly delayed - my friend experienced around 5 to 10 minutes delay in his rides while some blog posts are complaining about up to 30 mins delay.
  • Since I use a promo code in my sign up and I have a P300 credit, my trip shall be charged from my existing credit.
So, expectations set! Now we let's go on what actually happened.

I started with the two (2) pictures below. First, you need to set a pickup location so that the driver will know where to fetch you. Second, you need to confirm your booking. In the confirmation, you can also choose whether to apply your existing credits and if you have other promo codes you can use. Just continue with the "Request pickup here" to process your request.

 


Once your request is process, wait for your private car. You will see in the map from the apps a black car which serves as your monitoring as to where the driver currently is and how long will it takes for him to arrive.

The Car, the Waiting Time and the Ride


The driver called me after I confirmed my request for pick up and asked for our exact location. The driver arrived after 5 minutes which is around expectation, maybe because we are somewhere relatively accessible. The driver was carrying a Mitsubishi MonteroSports!

So our ride started from SM Ayala near G4 going to Lapaz Makati City. Contrary from what I read, the driver didn'y open the door for us, but he was courteous. He asked our destination and further added that he is a new Uber driver so he requested us to guide him as we go along.

After more than 10 minutes, we arrived at our destination. Riding a taxi will reach the same destination almost the same time, without traffic.

The driver went out and open the door for us. At that point, we felt special just like we have our own private driver. The driver was very courteous and he even thanked us. He also requested to give him a fair rating.

At the end of our ride, I received an e-mail containing the details of our trip and, opening the Uber app, I received a request to give my rating. I gave a 5 rating.

Following are the details of my trip I received thru e-mail:

  

The Actual Price


The amount reflected in my trip details is P81.53, but round down to P81.00. P81.00 of my P300.00 credit I obtained from entering the Promo Code was applied against the bill, that is why my bill reflected P0.00.

Riding a taxi, I usually pay around P75 to P80 pesos for the same distance.  Surprisingly, it's not as expensive as I've anticipated. I don't know if it's because it's a test ride (riding for the first time) that is why I was priced low so that I will try it again or it's really just low.

Some Other Concerns


Safety

Maybe all of us is concern about our safety when it comes to riding with someone else's vehicle, specially if we don't know the driver. Using Uber is like riding a taxi but you would observe that drivers are more courteous and you will feel that it's a safer ride. Drivers also undergo strict Driver Screening from what I've read in the Uber blog. It's just that, it seems like these are private vehicles owned by private individuals only using Uber as intermediary (based on my understanding).

You are also covered by an insurance while you are riding an Uber vehicle, based on what I've read.

Car-pool

Yes, you can split the billing for up to four (4) passengers! A car mostly can accommodate up to 4 passengers and if you want to split the fare, you can do so. One of the bloggers from Rappler advised that if you want to split the fare, it's better to settle between your company yourselves rather than thru the Uber app as it is more expensive. But if you want to manage the division between your company thru Uber, you will receive the details of your share of billing in your e-mail and also in your Uber account.

Their Operations


I am not an expert nor I have fair knowledge transport laws but I have questions regarding legality of the operations of Uber.  Is it not violating any regulation by catering passengers?

If you check the fine print at the website of Uber, you will read the following:

"*Uber is not a transportation provider. No need to tip. Flat rates apply to direct trips between specified locations. Additional stops may result in a higher fare. Applicable tolls and surcharges may be added to your fare. At times of intense demand, our rates change over time to keep vehicles available."

With the disclaimer that they have stating that they are not a transportation provider, they are like maintaining their separation with the drivers. Also, I am having a conflicting understanding of their service as they position  themselves to be "Everyone's private driver", meaning if they are available for everyone, they are serving every potential passengers, that make them publicly accessible.  So there's a little differentiation from those public utility vehicles like taxis.

And since this service is available to the general public, what regulations does the government has in order to prevent abuse to passengers?

And since taxation issues are recently hot topic in the social media, how is Uber operation ensuring compliance with the tax regulations thru electronic commerce involving private individuals and drivers?

Those might just be some regulation issues I think, but overall, if you look at how it works, it's like contracting a private vehicle to transport you and over serves as an agent for you to quickly find a private car. It's an interesting concept but I can't avoid to think on how the entire system works. :)

If you are signing up to Uber, don't forget to enter the code UBER300CR to get P300 credit that you can use for your first rides.

Feel free to leave you comments to share your ideas, experiences or may be if you want to know more. :)



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