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Uber launches carpool service for Makati-BGC route

/ 06:09 PM January 22, 2016

 Uber has upped the ante in the on-demand ride-sharing business, announcing that it launched a carpool service in Metro Manila to combat worsening traffic. 

Uber on Friday said the service, dubbed uberHOP, will be initially available only for people traveling between Makati City and Bonifacio Global City.  UberHOP will be available on weekdays between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. then between  4:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. 

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Uber, which mainly competes here with rival mobile platform GrabTaxi and traditional taxi services, said riders save on the fare since the cost would be split with other passengers.

 For this pilot test, the introductory fee is a flat rate of P75 per ride and the passenger could share the trip with as many as five other riders on board a “large vehicle.” 

According to Uber, the savings could amount to as much as 70 percent compared to an UberX ride. Since it is a flat fare, there will be no surge pricing mechanism, Uber said. 

“We’re testing uberHOP as a special pilot here because Manila suffers from some of the worst congestion in the world,” Uber said on its website. 

“Congestion is more than just an annoyance; it’s a drain on our cities, our economies and our planet. Innovative solutions like uberHOP, that put more passengers in fewer cars – safely, reliably and affordable – help move us towards a brighter, cleaner and less gridlocked future,” it added. 

Uber pointed out that an uberHOP ride can only accommodate one person per request. That means that riders will need to book their own uberHOP rides separately, it said. 

UberHOP rides are booked in a similar manner to regular Uber trips although an app update might be needed for some users. 

It said passengers can select the uberHOP feature and the platform will pair the rider with a driver along with other people travelling in the same direction. As noted, this is only for the Makati City to BGC route. 

There are some key differences to a regular Uber ride. 

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 Passengers will be asked to walk to a “suggested meet up spot” that comes with a scheduled time indicated in the app, which Uber said will be within “10 minutes or less.” The drop-off of point will also be suggested by the app. 

The uberHOP driver will not wait for late passengers, it said. 

At no point is the passenger allowed to contact the driver to make alternative arrangements. 

Moreover, passengers are also discouraged from cancelling rides. In a regular Uber trip, a passenger can cancel a request, but this comes with a P100 fee. 

Uber did not detail any penalty when cancelling an uberHOP but it noted that booking in this manner means a passenger is “making a commitment to both your co-riders and the driver.”

“Cancellations damage both of their experiences, so please don’t leave them hanging,” Uber said. 

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