Can we transform the concept of ride-sharing in the Philippines?

MANILA, Philippines — Long, winding lines at the MRT station; suffocatingly packed buses and vans; the numbingly slow crawl of EDSA traffic — this is just a glimpse into a day in the life of a Metro Manila commuter.

To say the traffic situation in the Philippines is bad would be an understatement. According to a Ford survey published in several major news sites, 30% of Filipinos consider commuting the worst part of their day. And it’s largely because of the current state of available public transportation options: crowded, uncomfortable, and inconvenient.

 

But as much as Filipinos hate it, there’s no avoiding it. Everyone still needs to go to work, visit their families, have dinner and drinks with friends. So what’s a commuter to do?

Companies are now coming up with new ride-sharing options that aim to change the way Filipinos look at getting from point A to point B.

A new way to commute

In a media launch help last February 16 at The Brewery in BGC, Grab introduced GrabShare, the company’s first on-demand commercial ride-sharing service in the Philippines.

With GrabShare, commuters can expect to share their ride with only 1 other passenger for up to 30% cheaper fares than GrabCar (Sedan). GrabShare allows a maximum of only one additional detour per ride, to make sure that the passengers’ time and money are not wasted. The new service will introduce cheaper fares for passengers and more income for drivers by allowing them to complete two bookings in one trip. 

GrabShare works by using a "matching algorithm" to help passengers get to their destinations in the shortest time possible. The algorithm factors in the closest available drivers, travel time, overlap of trip routes, detour distance, and current traffic conditions before sequencing pick-ups and drop-offs so commuters can experience the most efficient and practical rides.

Grab claims that Filipinos who are used to sharing seats in cramped vehicles now have a more comfortable and convenient option for getting around.

Perks for both passengers and drivers

GrabShare was first launched in Singapore in December 2016, and was considered a huge success. In 2 months, 2 million GrabShare rides were completed, covering a total distance of about 20 million kilometers. Since more passengers have been choosing GrabShare, Grab has improved their passenger matching rate by 15%, and with it, increases Grab drivers’ monthly incomes by 10%.

So in addition to providing Filipinos with a better option for ride-sharing, GrabShare also helps their drivers increase their potential earnings.

While the traffic situation in Metro Manila still leaves much to be desired, at least now Filipinos are not limited to their usual commuting options. And ride-sharing doesn’t necessarily have to be associated with sweaty lines and cramped seating arrangements anymore.

As people and technology evolve, so can the future of our commute. – Rappler.com