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Where Na U? ‘HirNa’ Me: What We Want From The New Ride-Sharing Services That Will Rival Grab

On April 16, Uber completely halted its operations in the Philippines, causing all sorts of chaos among the countless number of commuters who often turned to the ride-sharing service for transport salvation.

When Uber completely disappeared from our lives, only the ride-sharing and taxi-hailing operator Grab was left to monopolize the transport network vehicle service (TNVS) sector. Many people became livid with Grab’s outrageous prices and infuriating drivers. This is why day after day, we’ve clamored for LTFRB to start accrediting the new operators to stop the monopoly of Grab.

Throughout the month of April, LTFRB has actually accredited five ride-hailing operators to provide competition for Grab: OWTO, GoLag, HirNa, Hype, and most recently, Micab. One of these, Hype, which will offer booking via text, is actually preparing to launch as soon as May 26. 

 

Images from ABS-CBN News

 

But in the last years we’ve enjoyed (or not so much) with Uber and Grab, we, as passengers, have come up with a reasonable number of complaints and requests from operators. Drivers, too, are human, and have their own concerns. Because much like in relationship, a relationship between a driver and a passengers is a two-way give-and-take. Here are some of the problems we should mitigate and the facets of this relationship that we can improve—and hopefully, that upcoming operators should take note of.

 

Accept my booking

Grab drivers are given the choice to accept or reject a booking when it is made. As passengers, we don’t get it why Grab drivers won’t accept bookings, when the system is designed to ping drivers in the vicinity that are equipped and able to take the booking.

One of the biggest advantages that passengers first saw with ride-sharing apps like Uber and Grab was that drivers wouldn’t say no to them when their destination is quite far or in a heavy-traffic area. But Grab drivers are becoming more choosy, so to speak, with their riders.

To fix this, Grab is rolling out a feature to block drivers with high cancellation rates from seeing the destination of the passengers. Grab is in the service of offering transportation to everyone, not just to the select few, or to those going to convenient places. No one likes to go NAIA 3 or to the heart of Makati if they don’t have to. But as a driver, it is their responsibility to extend their service to their passengers, because it’s essentially their duty to bring someone from point A to point—there should be no exceptions.

 

Don’t leave me hanging

Don’t bait me just to let me go. In layman terms, don’t accept the booking only to cancel it. Wag mo akong paasahin, kuya. There have been several horror stories coming out recently where drivers force their passengers to cancel the trip so they would not be penalized by Grab.

Kuya and Ate drivers, please don’t do this to your passengers. It’s common courtesy to follow through on a promise—much like a booking. The same way you wouldn’t want passengers cancelling their booking when you’ve already made your way to them, your passengers don’t like it when you trick them into cancelling when they’re being penalized by the system, as well.

 

Stop with the fragrance!

Multiple times have this writer ridden a car where the air freshener is just too toxic to endure without having to roll down the windows. In fact, chemical car fresheners that are too strong and air freshener bombs have been common complaints of riders who are especially sensitive to strong and toxic odors. These toxic chemicals are also especially bad for pregnant women, infants, and those with asthma.

In fact, a Change.org petition was already filed last year against the now-defunct Uber to ban these chemical fresheners and fragrances in their drivers’ cars. The petition got to as much as 2,191 signatures—meaning this is not an isolated case.

This is for the drivers’ benefits, too. Drivers stay in their cars for hours—imagine the toxins that’s left and trapped in your body by staying exposed to these harmful chemicals.

 

Go easy on the surge

Honestly, the prices can be just too steep during peak hours. While we understand that surge pricing is implemented as incentives for drivers when traffic can be heavy, it shouldn’t come to a point that we have to pay 800 pesos just to get from Makati to Quezon City—that’s absurd! Operators’ fare calculation system is already adjusted to compute distance and account for the time of travel; passengers shouldn’t be charged extra for traffic or a bit of rain just because they can.

 

Let’s be friends—or not

Courtesy and communication are essentials when it comes to human relationships. And while we know that drivers spend hours on the road with no one to talk to, there are just moments when we’re too busy working on our phones or too tired from the day’s work to indulge them on the day’s news or what they feel about the Duterte administration. You can open with a line or two, but if we’re not interested, please take the cue.

 

Driving takes skill

Admit it or not, not everyone can be drivers. Yes, driving Grab have become profitable for drivers nowadays and we have learned many stories where people would prefer to drop their day jobs to make driving their full-time careers.

But like other careers, driving professionally comes with its own skill sets. If you have no sense of direction, don’t drive. If you have no patience for the traffic, don’t drive. If you don’t have the basic human decency to not get angry on your passenger if Waze malfunctions and can’t give you their exact locations, don’t drive.