I used to be so in awe of GrabTaxi that I could be appointed as an unofficial brand ambassador. I literally tell all my friends and officemates and anyone who cares to listen about how it’s the best innovation after sliced bread.
This is the sad reality when you live in a country where transportation is a perennial problem. As a country that is pegged as the fastest growing in SouthEast Asia, with a per capita GDP of USD1649.35, equivalent to 13% of the world’s average, our transportation system belongs in the medieval times. Our MRT System, with only 2 lines compared to Tokyo’s spaghetti bowl-like train system, is literally the definition of Hades on Earth while the bus, which can be cheap and efficient, is prone to Manila’s famous traffic systems. And let’s not even discuss how hailing a cab on rush hour entails negotiating with fledging Devils.
That’s why the introduction of GrabTaxi, launched in the Philppines in August 2013, was met with much enthusiasm by commuters who was sick and tired of dealing and negotiating with errant cab drivers. The launch of GrabCar in February this year made it much sweeter.
Unfortunately, the good impression made by the company and the people behind it is slowly being damaged by its providers, the same taxi scum bags who managed to find ways to ruin an otherwise good thing.
GrabTaxi-riding public: is it just me or have you experienced waiting for a confirmed ride that seems to be not coming at all.
Consider this scenario:
I have 100+ drivers in my immediate vicinity, but no one seemed interested to get or book the ride. Granted, it was raining and it is seven in the evening but that’s the reason why I offered a thirty peso tip, which promptly turned into forty pesos, to fifty — but no, no one is biting at all.
I tried switching from GrabTaxi and GrabCar but no response at all, until finally a GrabCar driver took pity of me and my PHP60 tip.
I hope GrabCar becomes more strict in monitoring their ride providers. During weekends and rush hours, you can find numerous taxi cabs, with their GrabTaxi stickers, going round and round the Glorietta 3 park fishing for desperate passengers. Round and round until someone is desperate enough to sell them his soul and first born in exchange for the much-needed ride.
Of course, not all GrabTaxi drivers are like these. In fact, I still believed that the good drivers (the kind who trades stories while on the road, shares unheard of GrabTaxi promo codes, courteous and hardworking outnumber the bad. But sometimes, it’s the bad eggs that otherwise ruin a good bunch.
I am not exactly the techie type and I easily, easily get rattled when my Smartphone acts up and I have no idea why. My work demands that I immerse myself in social media while my foray in blogging has kept me sane — however, deep in my heart, I am still an old-fashioned girl who loves writing letters instead of email, reading actual books than Kindle and writing on my journal (been journaling since I was 14!)
But I do know when to appreciate technology — mostly because of the convenience it has brought us. Right now, there are two service companies whom I have recently discovered and have thoroughly enjoyed using.
I love my city — but let’s face it. Hailing a taxi in Manila, in the middle of rush hour and in the pouring rain, is like being subjected to eternal damnation in hell. Cabies sprout horns and tails turning into devils behind the wheels. They will negotiate with you, tsk-tsk-tsking madly either because you are going too far or too near or too crowded and it’s traffic. They will attempt to haggle a price they find appealing never mind if it’s worth your kidney and spleen. In the rare chance that you do get a ride and your driver happens to be a minion of Lucifer Morningstar, you will go to places you’ve never been as he tries to drive you around the Metro. This blog post won’t even discuss perpetuated by so-called “evil cab drivers.”
And then comes GrabTaxi.
GrabTaxi, available for FREE download on iOS, Android, and BlackBerry platforms, is the first and largest taxi app in Philippines and South East Asia that enables passengers to book taxis in just a few taps of their smartphones. It is also available in Malaysia, Singapore, and Bangkok. GrabTaxi aims to revamp the local taxi industry by introducing simple, cost effective mobile-based technology to both the supply (drivers and demand (passenger) sides of the distribution chain. With this technology, GrabTaxi hopes to optimize the matching process between drivers and passengers. (from the GrabTaxi website)
Bottomline: it allows you to have instant access to taxi using your mobile device without having to be subjected to the torture of hailing a cab in the middle of the city streets. I downloaded GrabTaxi before and its competitor and used them both for hailing cabs.
When I first used it in early 2014, I was more partial to the other taxi app because it was faster and drivers from GrabTaxi had a habit of canceling my ride at the last minute. But by the time Christmas season of 2014 rolled in, the other taxi app has become annoying — drivers won’t bid on my ride unless I add a tip or there are fewer confirmed cabs in your area when compared to Grab. GrabTaxi, meanwhile, seemed to have cleaned house. Gone are the rude cab drivers and those who had a habit of cancelling rides at the last minute. A conversation with a GrabTaxi driver while in the middle of traffic confirmed this. According to manong,the company has become more stringent in affiliating drivers, especially those who received complaints. The driver also seemed very happy being affiliated with GrabTaxi — they talked about winning cameras or bringing in extra earnings to their happy wife. This year, I decided to save space on my phone and deleted the other app. I am okay with just having GrabTaxi on my phone.
How to use
Since I don’t have a car and my job needs me to do ocular inspections for branding of branches, media visits or interviews, I have become really dependent of GrabTaxi. It gives me the convenience of having a cab wait for me as I exit the office (especially nowadays when the heat is too much), gives me peace of mind that I don’t have a psycho for a driver (Driver profile appears as part of your app), you can have your ride receipts sent via email for easy filing of reimbursement for Transpo Allowances.
Convenient shopping with Lazada
As a woman, I should love shopping. But…when it involves long lines, swollen feet from all the walking, frazzled salesladies, crowds that rival the next 1D concert and grumpy customer service agents — then I tend to tap into my (non-exitent) male gene and skip the mall altogether. I love quick visits to the mall when really needed. For instances such as these, I tend to drop by, choose what I want, bring it to the cashier and get the hell out of the store as fast as possible. I don’t like haggling or jumping from one store to another to compare prices or being followed by a salesperson while I inspect the goodies.
Then, I discovered Lazada.
Lazada positions itself as the Philippines’ hassle-free online mall, where consumers can choose the product they need in the convenience and safety of their own home.
According to the Lazada website:
“Lazada is offering to every shopper in the country—an internet shopping mall that will make your every online purchase effortless and risk free. Seek, find, shop, and enjoy your items right at the comfort of your home. Gone are the days of hearing the never ending tunes of malls, the crowded department stores, and enduring grueling traffic; Lazada is here to keep everything you need within your reach.”
I am not a frequent or avid online shopper, but I like browsing online shopping sites like Amazon, Rakuten (for my Japan goodies) and Lazada to see if there are tempting deals that are just too good to pass up. What’s good about Lazada is that all the products are listed according to brands so you’ll have the option of choosing the one the best fit your budget. There also deals that are too good to be true. My sister and I purchased our favorite perfume, Elizabeth Arden Green Tea when, during net browsing, we chanced upon one of their advertisements announcing up to almost 70% price drop on selected perfumes. In fact, we only paid PHP999 each for a 3.2 oz bottle that sells for more than PHP3,000 at the mall. Lazada gives you the option of paying on delivery or paying online, depending on your preference.
How to purchase
Recently, I am considering of buying a water dispenser for more parents but had no time to shop and look around the many appliance centers near my office. First, because I was just too busy in the office and too tired to even consider going to the mall. I also have no compulsion to go from one place to another to check and compare products so I decided to visit Lazada and see if there are water dispensers on sale. I saw three brands, and was planning to buy one already — until mom came home the next day lugging a huge box with a water dispenser inside.
For a busy person like me, the presence of services like GrabTaxi and Lazada provides a bit of relief in an otherwise already chaotic schedule. While I am still waiting for the time when we can already order groceries online and have it delivered to our homes like in South Korea, these new services are already a big step towards the development of more and more apps or websites that makes life a little bit easier.
This is not a sponsored post, nor a paid advert. This material was written with my own biases and opinion.