I am carless at the moment. Taking any other form of transportation other than a cab or a ride-share is out of the question since I am very much intent on not getting a hit to my jaw any time soon. Bumps and jolts are a given with Metro Manila’s public transport since it’s essentially The Walking Dead in the morning and World War Z in the evening rush hours.┬áSo that leaves me with the dilemma of how to get ferried around particularly to and from work.

I’ve taking “ordinary” cabs regularly before but their services have grown so much worse that I rarely hail a cab just for the heck of it. Most of their vehicles look unsafe with threadbare tires, puttied up bodies poorly concealing major collision damage, and filthy and smelly interiors. Driver demeanor isn’t a treat either. I’ve had my fair share of drivers haggling for fares and trips, taking poor routes, unsafe driving, and just being dickheads in general.

So that leaves me a choice between Uber and Grab (formerly GrabTaxi). I would really have to that it’s the quality of service that differentiates rideshare services. Transport groups have really been up at arms against these new rideshare options but the difference in service is just night and day. Never in my entire taxi-riding life had I ever been greeted “Good morning/afternoon/evening” by the driver and offered mints that I considered taking one (not that I ever would take candy from a stranger ’cause my mama told me so).

Uber has been my default go-to rideshare service and I have been quite okay with it. Rides come at the average of a five-minute wait time at my workplace and drivers and their cars have been quite pleasant. Sure there are some drivers that drive in the typical fuck-you Manila fashion. At least I can take comfort in the fact that with Uber’s newer cars, their seatbelts do work.

I’m not too entirely fond of Grab’s service and I have yet to successfully book one since the tragedy. They tend to get very picky when it comes to my destinations now. Their drivers still have the option not to pick you up depending on the destination. I refuse to believe that despite plenty of cabs supposedly in my immediate vicinity showing in my phone’s map prior to starting my search, they all magically disappear just as soon as I try to book one. Perhaps the only luck I had with Grab is when we lived in Ortigas where their taxis are plenty and any trip away from there seems unobjectionable. I have yet to try their GrabCar service.

But Uber drivers can be picky as well despite they don’t supposedly know where you’re going when they pick you up if you don’t enter a destination upon booking. As a matter of courtesy, I do. Since I live just a tad shy of NCR’s actual borders, some drivers actually hesitate to drive me all the way because of this. I’ve heard three excuses so far – 1) that their insurance doesn’t cover driving outside a particular zone, 2) that Uber’s terms and conditions only apply to NCR, and 3) that they would be “lugi” going back since passengers are few to none from that area. I really wonder if 1 or 2 really applies though looking at Uber Manila’s map it does show that the lines are drawn around NCR. For number 3, I don’t mind handing a tip for the extra mile.

The thing is, our new place (somewhere east of Quezon City), is just 10km away from my office (which is my pickup point). I just don’t get it why driving towards that direction is objectionable compared to say, driving all the way south to Muntinlupa from Quezon City.

More on my rideshare chronicles some other time.