Finding a cab on Metro Manila’s perennially congested streets has just become easier for business travellers to that colourful city. A new hotline service, Grab-A-Cab (tel +63 2 525 2222), was launched on March 15 to bring together five leading local taxi companies, increasing the chances of a commuter quickly getting a ride. Before then, there were only individual hotlines.
The dispatching service centres around a seven-inch monitor that flashes pertinent information to the driver. The Grab-a-Cab system will automatically select among a number of taxi units, identifying cabs roaming within a three-kilometer radius of the passenger’s location. It broadcasts the passenger's name, site and destination. The request will be awarded to the driver who acknowledges first by touching the "Free" button on the monitor. Otherwise, the system will just select the unit nearest to the passenger’s location.
Eric Ortiz, president of Grab-A-Cab, said customers would now be assured of better service since member taxi establishments have to keep their vehicles well maintained (all units subscribed to the Grab-A-Cab should be no older than 2006 models) and in case anything is left behind by the passenger, it can easily be traced. Use of the service comes with an additional but nominal Php50 (US$1.16) charge on top of the flag down rate of Php40 (US$.92).
Margie T Logarta