The struggle to get anywhere feels very real these days. Traffic woes in the metro are reportedly costing the country’s economy at least Php 2.4 billion a day. The study conducted by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has estimated that this loss could rise to as much as Php 6 billion in the next decade if left unchecked. With unreliable public transport forcing people to look for other ways to get around the metro, Uber and Grab have become popular alternatives. There are ways to get cheap Uber and Grab rides and three such ways are shared in this article.
Schedule trips in advance
Uber can schedule trips in advance of your travel dates. You can set pick-up points, drop-off points, and your pick-up window. However, the service is limited to UberX, UberXL, and Uber Black.
You will also be shown an estimated fare for your scheduled trip. Here is how much it costs to travel from Makati to Quezon City at around 3 pm using the normal booking process:
However, if you book in advance, the scheduled trip on the same route would cost much less:
At the time of writing, Grab’s trip scheduling function is disabled, which is unfortunate. But you can book a point-to-point carpool online via Move With Grab. This carpool initiative involves two schedules: Morning Rush (6 am to 8 am) and Evening Rush (6 pm to 8 pm), Mondays to Fridays.
Morning Rush trips go from SM North in Quezon City to Paseo Center in Makati, SM Megamall in Ortigas. There are also drop-off points for BGC, and seats cost Php 100.
Evening Rush trips depart from Glorietta 5, Makati to Trinoma, Quezon City, and Robinsons Galleria, Ortigas to SM North, Quezon City. There is a Waltermart Makati to SM Bicutan/Waltermart Bicutan route as well, with seats costing Php 70.
The fare costs between Php 50 to Php 90 for sure seats and the page clearly states that riders must be present at their assigned times 10 minutes before departure. If the rider isn’t present, chance passengers may take their seat, at the slightly higher cost of Php 120.
Codes are everything
If you cannot schedule a trip in advance, you can always use the discount code, if available. Grab also has a Rider Reward system that gives you points when you ride, which can be exchanged for a Php 50 off or Php 100 off coupon.
Grab promo codes have a pattern, and there are times when certain codes are active, but not advertised by the app. For instance: the “Share” series of codes; 50Share, 40Share, are sometimes active for a few days at a time. These codes can take off Php 50 or 40, but redemption is limited. The “Share” code itself takes off 50% on your fare up to a certain threshold when active as well.
Other codes, like “Nightshift”, work best for late night booking as they only work from 10 pm to 5 am.
Uber doesn’t usually give out codes as often, but when they do, the codes saves Php 50 and last a week’s worth of rides for any of its services.
Share with friends
A recent addition to the Uber app is the ability to plug in three stops at a time. This function does not include UberPool however. If you and up to four or six friends all live in the same general area, you can split the total fare between everyone. Here is an example:
A group of four can travel to three different points in Quezon City for Php 380 or Php 95 per person. The app does ask that riders keep their stops to a maximum of 3 minutes to avoid inconveniencing the driver too much.
Grab only allows for two stops, but codes or coupons can take off some of the cost, allowing riders to split a slightly smaller fare. Here is an example:
A trip that ends in Quezon City and stops over at SM Megamall costs Php 303. A group of four traveling this way splits the fare at Php 76.
The traffic in the country is not going to get any better any time soon. The government is planning solutions, but they will take time to come into effect. These solutions, such as the USD 4.4 billion Mega Manila Subway by the Department of Transportation (DOTr), may not be feasible immediately.
Another solution is the Metro Manila Development Authority’s (MMDA) plan to restrict the use of EDSA to vehicles with one or more passengers. This plan includes exempting cars with more than three passengers from the number coding scheme, but not cars with a single passenger.
A bonus tip for getting a cheaper ride is to look at pickup points in your general area that are accessible from main roads. It cuts the price by a meager amount, but if used in conjunction with the tips above, you can commute comfortably and at a lower cost.