Sunday, December 8, 2013


So one rainy evening, on a payday, I was with my friend and he was going to go home and I was going to get a cab. I was going to take my chances and line up for a cab, but he recommended I get a grabtaxi, and I said, "Huh?" It's a smartphone-based taxi service: download the app, then book your cab. My first experience was very good. I got a cab in about 20 minutes. The cab driver was very good. For an extra P70 you get a cab without having to jostle for one.

My subsequent experiences were hit-or-miss, mostly misses, in terms of how quickly I got a cab.

Then came the horror story: I was going to a dinner at 6 and tried booking a cab at 530. No luck. I decided to go to a mall to line up at a cab stand. The line was very long. Thankfully, that mall had a grabtaxi kiosk. The kiosk attendants were very helpful, and when they sensed my impatience, they suggested I line up at the cab stand, and they would continue to try to book a grabtaxi, and told me to call them right away once I got a text confirmation from a driver, then head back to the grabtaxi kiosk immediately. 

So off I went to line up for a cab at the taxi stand. After some time, I was no. 7 in the queue, when I got a text confirmation from UVL 264. I immediately called the kiosk, but the number was busy. I then left the taxi queue and went to the kiosk. We called the driver of UVL 264 and asked where he was, and he said he was in Magallanes, about 1.7 km away from the pickup point (VIOLATION NO. 1: a grabtaxi driver should not book a ride if he is more than .5 km away from the pickup point). He was asked how long it would take for him to arrive, and he said 10 minutes. He arrived after 30 minutes. (If I had stayed in the taxi queue I would have been able to get a cab in less time). Moreover, the kiosk attendant found out that the driver picked up another passenger before me, and dropped that passenger off at Glorietta (VIOLATION NO. 2)

When I was in the cab, I told the driver of UVL 264 that he should not have said he was just 10 minutes away. He cut me off, and raised voice at me, saying traffic was bad. (VIOLATION NO. 3: rudeness). He also denied having said he was only 10 minutes away, contrary to what he told the kiosk attendant earlier. I did not like the tone of the driver so I told him that I was reporting him to grabtaxi and he said, "Eh di magsumbong ka." He kept on yammering and I told him to just stop talking because there was nothing more to discuss, yet when we reached EDSA, he said, "Hayan o! Tingnan mo kung gaano ka-traffic sa EDSA!!!"

As if this were not enough, I wanted to test his honesty. When I booked the cab, I got a text/email saying that I was entitled to the no-booking fee promo. So when I arrived at my destination, I gave the cab driver the extra P70, and he just drove away, instead of pointing out that I did not have to pay the booking fee. (VIOLATION NO 4: dishonesty).

I emailed my complaint to grabtaxi. Their reaction: a warning was given to the driver. The email was proforma, and badly written at that. I then emailed them back, saying that their callous disregard of my complaint, where the driver was treated with more courtesy than I was, has caused me to disavow their service. A while later, someone called, and tried to explain that they will investigate my complaint. Huh? You’ve already warned the driver, what’s left to investigate. At least four violations from one driver in one incident and all he got was a warning?

Why pay a premium to be treated rudely, first by your cabbie, then by some customer service lackey?

I’d rather take my chances with regular cabs.  

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