Tired of everyday commute in Metro Manila?
Well, I am.
I am a commuter who frequently fight for a breathing space in MRT every day. Looking down, a “seasoned” MRT passenger will recognize the familiar bumper to bumper traffic below. The traffic dilemma does not seem to get better anytime soon despite various proposed solutions.
Manila ranked as the 6th most terrible traffic in the world according to Numbeo’s Traffic Index 2017. This is the list we never want to top.
It is no wonder that carpooling apps appealed to a lot of commuters. It helps ease the traffic congestion by encouraging people to share their rides with those who have the same route to work.
While this may be the answer to our traffic dilemma, you must know that it has two sides. Here are the good and not-so-good things about carpooling.
Cheaper when you share
Uber and Grab offer the comforts of traveling in a private vehicle and the chance to escape the busy road of EDSA. It may be a bit more expensive but a lot of people like it because of the time that they can save. They also have the carpooling service.
Meanwhile, Wunder is an app which is dedicated only for carpooling. It is a bit different since it is only a platform to make drivers and passengers meet together and create a “carpooling community”. It isn’t mean to give a side job for the driver, it just wants people to save up because you can share the gas expenses.
Carpooling lets you save time and money. You can take other favorable routes at work, at the same time you can just share the fee with another person. Sometimes, you save around 25% of the usual ride alone with these apps.
Every day (except Friday), my regular booked ride from Taguig to Market Market is Php 110. If I use the carpool service, I usually pay Php 80. You can save more if you use the apps’ promo codes and points.
Meeting New People
Ever seen the video ads of these carpooling apps? These videos suggest that you can also meet different kinds of people.
There are times when I chat with the driver during the ride. Do not be surprised if your driver is an accountant, an aspiring lawyer, or a nurse. Most of the times they have interesting things to share if you are into small talks.
Also, you can take carpool with the same people just like the way Wunder loves to advertise on its FB page.
Seat and air-conditioned car rides
If you have been commuting in Metro Manila, your experience will not be complete without getting drenched in sweat from yourself and the passengers beside you.
Public transport is very inconvenient especially during the rainy days. MRT trains are always stuffed with people pushing each other for a little space to breathe. In addition, people are always anxious about a possibility for train breakdown.
With Uber, Grab, and Wunder, you can get a comfy ride in a private car. You’ll let out a sigh of relief.
Downsides of Carpooling
Travel time is unpredictable
Since you are carpooling you have to expect that you are sharing a ride with someone else. If you are the first person to be picked up, there will be a few-minute detour to fetch the other rider. Then there is also the chance that the other rider can be dropped off first depending on the location of the drop-off along the route. The driver has to follow the sequence of pick up and drop off as suggested by the app.
Also, once that you have searched for a ride, you will have no assurance that you can immediately get a driver.
Not everyone is comfortable sharing a ride with a stranger who may be stressed or in a rush at that time. You may also have to ride with a person drenched in rain, has a weird body odor, or mannerism.
The ride may make you uncomfortable. Then if you want to ignore the other rider, you may just listen to music or make yourself busy with your smartphone. Keep your cool and remember that you are sharing the ride as the conveniences outweigh the discomforts.
Prices are not the same
Uber and Grab may have price surge if the demand for a ride increases. This usually happens on Friday nights and Monday mornings. These are the days when many commuters would be wanting to go home early or get to work on time.
The usual GrabShare which costs Php 150 may go up at around Php 200. If this is the case, then reconsider your ride. Try checking the costs of other apps.
Carpooling, like so many other things in our daily lives, has pros and cons. But it can help you ease the traffic jams and get to work on time without looking stressed. Carpooling gives you a relaxed ride which you can enjoy depending on how you take it in.
Keep your patience in check because you may chance another rider who might get on your nerves. If you feel uneasy, focus on the carpooling benefits instead.