No real service from UBER

Moje Ramos-Aquino, Fpm

Moje Ramos-Aquino, Fpm

I HAVE to get over UBER. Here are some of my disgusting experiences with them.
In October 23, I took an UBER car from Sta. Mesa, Manila, to go to Alabang, Muntinglupa. I gave the driver the address for my destination for him to key into his gadget. Waze kept telling him to turn right, which is heading for Manila. Then the driver suggested that we take the Coastal Road instead of SLEX. I told him that was like going from Sta. Mesa to Makati via Ilocos Norte. Then I asked to look at his gadgets and, true to my suspicion, he had keyed in a different destination. Munteng Lupa (two words) instead of Muntinglupa.

No wonder the generally reliable Waze was pointing in the wrong direction. And so we got caught in the traffic at Quirino Avenue and even the side streets were congested. He kept clicking at his gadget and suddenly he said, “End trip na daw po.” End trip, when we have not even moved out of Manila and Alabang was still a long way away. He said that is what his gadget said. I suspected that he intentionally ended the trip because of the traffic situation. I was charged P209.31.

So I was left wandering along Quirino Avenue where the traffic was almost at a standstill. I again opened my UBER app. I noticed that there were so many UBER cars in the northbound-side of Quirino. So I asked permission from the traffic enforcers to allow me to cross to the other side. I positioned myself right at the corner of Quirino and Osmeña Avenues. I ordered an UBER car. A driver responded and I called him immediately. He said he was still at Roxas Boulevard and would come to pick me up as fast as he could. I waited, and waited and waited. I called the driver two times more to remind him about my location. On the third call, he said that he was coming shortly but was still caught in traffic at the corner of Roxas Blvd. and EDSA. Whaaaat?! With the morning rush hour traffic, I thought it would take him another one or even two hours to reach me. I cancelled the trip. I was charged P100.

At another time, I took an UBER car from Jupiter Street, Makati, to V. Mapa, Sta. Mesa—about a 6-kilometer trip. On a regular metered taxi or in a previous UBER ride, I am charged about P110-130 depending on the time and traffic situation, for such a trip. The route could be via Mandaluyong City across the Makati-Mandaluyong Bridge or via Sta. Ana, Manila across the new Bacood Bridge.

It was after 5 p.m. and we took the Sta. Ana route. UBER charged me P543.12, which was the total for the normal fare of P236.14 plus a surge fare of P306.98. Onerous!

I have had many other unpleasant and disgusting, experiences with them. Sometimes, when I have the time, I get to complain and get some paltry refund. Most times, I just grin and bear it.

I understand that there are a number of car owners joining the UBER organization because of the high income for their services. I have friends who used to drive to their offices and park their car during the day and drive again after work. So we used to have only the morning and late afternoon/early evening rush hour when there are many cars on the streets. Now, my friends say they have hired drivers (some are elderly or unemployed relatives) to drive them to the office, after which their car is used for UBER. Then they are fetched in the afternoon. No wonder there are now more cars on the streets at any given time. It is like rush hour all day!

They say the payoff is very, very high. He pays his driver on commission basis based on earnings for the day. Still, he says he nets upward of P10,000 per week.

I very seldom take UBER rides now. My main objection to UBER is the “surge” charges. Regular taxis are not allowed to ask for more than what their meter reads. Yet UBER charges “surge” during rush hour or depending on your destination. They charge per minute waiting time and per kilometer travelled. This is illegal, just like taxi drivers “contracting” fares.

UBER is not a help to commuters. Their charges are much too much! Isn’t this illegal?

What is LTFRB doing about this “surge” charge? And their cancelation fee (for cancelled order) is also onerous. Is “cancellation fee” also legal? What about that driver who cancelled my trip unceremoniously? After complaining I got only a refund, no damage fees for my early morning stroll in my new leather shoes along busy Quirino Avenue under the sweltering heat of the sun!

UBER should not be allowed to operate here in the Philippines. They are all profit-motivated and never service-oriented. Their come-on to would be members is “high earnings” and nothing more.


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