By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
As much as 40 percent of Filipinos in Metro Manila taking Uber service are now tapping the ridesharing Uber Pool instead of individual cars, indicating that this segment is making a dent on the mindset in more Filipinos to help decongest traffic but still retain the need for convenience and comfort of the Uber X.
Laurence Cua, general manager of Uber Philippines, cited at the launch of its campaign. “Unlocking Cities Together,” which specifically promotes a mindset of ride-sharing instead of individual cars or Uber X, the need to change the mindset of Filipinos to work together to fight the high cost of traffic congestion.
Uber Pool, which is unique in a few cities out of the over 600 cities where this transport network company (TNC) operates, was launched only in Manila in June 2016 but is fast catching up as a more reliable and affordable but convenient mode of transportation.
“Both (individual and pool) are sustainable business, but we found a way to reduce price and cost with pool,” Cua said adding they believe that there is a continued demand of ride-sharing mode of transport that could exceed the share of individual cars in its total business.
This can be supported by an Uber study finding which showed that 71 percent of people in Manila consider ride-sharing services an alternative to owning a car.
Uber estimated that between 40 to 70 percent of private vehicles on the road today could be removed if ridesharing becomes a viable substitute for private vehicle ownership. In Manila, the study said, this means approximately 4 million cars can be taken off the road.
“Pool works best,” he said of individuals who are not so much in a hurry to reach their destination and are practical spender. He also noted that even if the price difference between individual car or pool is just R10, some would still opt for Uber Pool than Uber X.
With ride sharing, the Uber study stated that personal car needs of Manila residents could be met with one third of the private cars on the road today. That is almost 1 million fewer vehicles on the road.
The Uber study, which was conducted by the Boston Consulting Group, further showed that ridesharing is becoming the better transport mode because of the flexible supply base enabling transport network companies to scale up operation and meet ridership demand. Ride-sharing also increases average vehicle capacity to 1.7 percent, greater vehicle utilization per kilometer and the same time complement public transportation.
Cua blamed the mindset of Filipinos that owning a car and driving your own car is a measure of success. “When I turned 18, I will buy a car and that means how to be successful so individuals by cars,” said Cua of the current mindset that is helping traffic congestion to further worsen.
Instead of one car per individual, he said, there is a need to change on the way how individuals use the car because there are costs to human, environment and economy to traffic congestion.
The domestic economy is losing R2.4 billion each day because of traffic congestion. So many vehicles are causing so much pollution. Asia has the highest carbon dioxide emission contribution by 2030, the study said.
This is on top of the human cost. Traffic jams in Manila have caused car owners to spend on the average 66 minutes stuck in gridlock and another 24 minutes looking for a parking slot. This is higher than the average of 52 minutes every day across Asia.
The Uber study also found that 4 out of 5 car owners have missed or have been very late to important events. Doctor’s appointments topped the list of most commonly missed events, followed by job interviews and weddings.