'Mag-taxi ka na lang': Netizens tell riders complaining of higher fares

MANILA, Philippines – Are fares offered by ride-hailing company Grab more expensive nowadays?

Some netizens have complained that fares are more expensive now, after Uber sold its business to Grab, leaving commuters with no other ride-hailing company to choose from.

But some netizens came to Grab's aid and defended the "higher" fares charged by the company. (READ: Did Grab 'illegally' charge its riders higher fare?)

They argued that riders who find the fares "too expensive" can instead choose to ride taxis or other public utility vehicles.

"Kung di mo afford, mag-taxi ka na lang, or tricycle, jeep. Marami naman diyan alternative na masasakyan. (If you can't afford [the fares], just ride a taxi, or a tricycle, or a jeep. There are many other alternative transportation options there)," Genevieve Manlunas Francisco said in a comment.

One netizen pointed out that availing of the ride-hailing service is still more convenient than other transportation options. "Convenient na nga, nirereklamo pa. (It's already convenient, but you're still complaining)," Felice Caseda said.

Meanwhile, others said that the app shows how much a rider will have to pay at the end of the trip, which gives commuters the option to not book the ride if they find it expensive. 

Higher fares?

Grab Philippines head Brian Cu explained on Wednesday, April 18, that fares are "not higher" because they "did not increase fare pricing" after they acquired Uber.

Cu said it appears that fares are higher because Grab absorbed "100% of the demand" when Uber left the market but they have yet to absorb all Uber drivers to meet the demand.

"The demand base is fully absorbed. It's easier for the demand to flow than it is for the supply to flow," he said. (READ: Grab: When Uber shuts down, not all 20,000 drivers have moved to us)

According to Cu, about 40% of the Uber drivers from their masterlist had onboarded with Grab since they started the process early April.

The country head also said that they will be employing stricter measures to avoid driver cancellations such as changing their incentive scheme for drivers.

Cathy Toh, Grab Philippines marketing head, also invited passengers to continue reporting impertinent drivers. She said they had doubled their internal customer service team to address their woes.

Grab is the only transport network company currently offering ride-hailing services in the Philippines, after Uber closed down on April 16.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board on Wednesday accredited Hype Transport Systems Incorporated and Hirna Mobility Solutions Inc.

Hype and Hirna can begin operations only after they receive their accreditation papers. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.