Carpooling is one of the most popular solutions for those who want to make sure they'll catch a ride, and now Uber is taking it to the next level.
The popular transportation network company yesterday launched uberHOP—a new service that allows up to five people (excluding the driver) to share a ride for an affordable flat fare of just—wait for it—P75. Yep, about the same price as two bottles of beer bought in the supermarket.
The service first rolled out in Toronto and Seattle last December 2015, making Manila just the third city to experience said innovation. It aims to help solve traffic congestion by letting more people ride in fewer cars. "Congestion is more than just an annoyance; it’s a drain on our cities, our economies and our planet. uberHOP helps move us towards a brighter, cleaner and less gridlocked future," Uber says in a statement.
And now that it's here in the Philippines, we're glad that at least we have another option to consider when taking on the age-old question, "How will I get home tonight?"
How to use uberHOP
Using the service is pretty straightforward. It involves just a few easy steps:
1. Using your Uber app, select uberHOP
2. Check if your route is covered by the service. The app will provide you with a list of available pick-up and drop-off points you can choose from.
3. Go to the designated pick-up spot and meet the Uber driver there.
4. Get off at the designated drop-off spot.
5. Thank God you didn't have to smell Manila's polluted air inside a jeepney or experience car-stuffing, MRT style.
Check out the video below of a test run done in BGC a couple of weeks ago:
What you need to know
Before you give it a try, though, here are some reminders that can help you fully enjoy this next-gen carpooling service.
uberHOP is currently available only in BGC and Makati. Don't be sad, north and south people. Uber asks us to frequently check the app as they "expand to more areas of Metro Manila."
Make sure your Uber app is updated. Otherwise it won't have the uberHOP option.
There are no stopovers. uberHOP is a Point A to Point B service, so try to hold your pee.
The service has a fixed schedule: 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. It's also not available on weekends and non-working holidays.
There's a time limit for reaching the pick-up area. The app will tell you how much time you have left. If you're late, the driver won't wait.
Surge pricing won't be in effect, so rest assured that P75 will remain P75.
Be prepared to ride a big vehicle together with up to five other passengers. The idea here is carpooling, so that hatchback your aunt brings to the annual family reunion just won't cut it.
You can't bring a friend along. uberHOP is strictly on a one-rider-one-request basis. Better tell your BFF or significant other to make a separate request.
As with most activities involving more than one person, carpooling through uberHOP has a set of unwritten rules passengers should follow. So, if you're going to use the service, always remember...
Don't take off your shoes and/or socks. We're not saying you have smelly feet (but that is a possibility), but would you want the person next to you exposing his/her veiny ankles to you?
Be polite when changing the music/radio station. It's not your car. Relinquish DJ duties to the owner or driver unless he/she explicitly gives you the authority. And even then, be polite.
It's a no-no to talk loudly on the phone. You're not with friends who will tolerate you; you're with strangers who will be annoyed.
If you want to eat, ask. Again, it's not your car, and you won't be the one cleaning it afterwards. Same goes for drinks.
Don't ride intoxicated. That pungent amoy-chico fragrance won't be appreciated by your fellow passengers. Also, there's a real risk of you puking or, worse, hurting someone inside the car. Unless, of course, you're with your friends, which is actually a better idea than traveling with annoyed strangers who might just leave you in the middle of the street.
Got all that? Now you're ready to do some carpool karaoke (if all of you inside the car are game, that is)!