Uber, an app which lets you request a private car with only a few taps and pay via credit or debit cards, has silently announced that it is now testing the service in Metro Manila. The company says on its blog that a limited number of Uber Black cars are available in Makati and Bonifacio Global City in Taguig for the duration of testing.
The app, which is available for iPhone and Android, works in the same way as other taxi-hailing apps — you launch the app, search for cars available around your current location, and enter your booking details. For an Uber Black car, which could be a Toyota Altis, a Ford Focus, or a Hyundai Sonata, the rates start at P90, and goes up by P12.92 for every kilometer plus P2.10 for every minute of your trip.
An error in Uber's app and website showed that the rates are in US dollar, and is still not fixed as of posting. A PR person from Uber told Mister Jonjon that "all our rides are priced in the Philippine Peso."
UPDATE: The pricing error has been already fixed.
Other cars include the low-cost UberX, the Uber SUV which seats up to 6, and the Uber LUX which lets you arrive at your destination in a high-end vehicle. On some cities, an Uber Taxi is also available.
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With the arrival of Uber, other taxi-booking apps like GrabTaxi and EasyTaxi now face more competition. Having its own rates, and seemingly higher at that, can Uber compete head to head with other services? Let's find out in the sample calculation below.
Uber vs. GrabTaxi / EasyTaxi vs. Ordinary Taxi
The normal rates for an ordinary taxi in the metro start at. P40, which includes the first 500 meters. You are then charged P3.50 for every 300 meters (P1.167 for 100 meters), and P3.50 for every 2 minutes (P1.75 per minute) the car is idle. A 20-kilometer ride on a taxi will cost you P267.565, and that's without any stops. If you're stuck in heavy traffic for a total of 10 minutes, it will be P285.065.
Now, both GrabTaxi and EasyTaxi charge a P70 booking fee on top of the normal taxi rates. A 20-kilometer ride with no stops will be P337.565. It becomes P355.065 if you slowed down or stopped for 10 minutes. Both apps use vehicles of their partner taxi companies.
Again, Uber charges P90 for booking, P12.92 for every kilometer (P1.292 for 100 meters), and P2.10 for ever minute when the vehicle is traveling at 18 kilometers an hour and below. So a 20-kilometer trip using Uber will cost you P348.40 — or P369.40 if you dip below the minimum speed limit for a total of 10 minutes.
That makes Uber's rates only a little more expensive than GrabTaxi and EasyTaxi. So, what do you think?