Uber PH, apps make crazy city commute easy peasy
However politically incorrect, we’re guessing many passengers of ride-sharing company Uber are surprised to find themselves in an Uber vehicle driven by a woman.
Indeed, women behind the wheel of any kind of transport service are still a rare sight.
Professional touring car racer LoryLee Uy, 44, says she gets surprised but pleased reactions from passengers on seeing a woman behind the wheel of their Uber service vehicle even if Uy’s name already appears on their mobile phone.
Uy’s Ford Everest has been registered under UberBLACK, the company’s more premium option, for the past three months.
“I feel safe considering there is no exchanges of cash as passengers pay the fare via their credit cards. I also appreciate the flexible work hours wherein I only get notified when I’m logged in to Uber,” said Uy who drives for the service five times a week.
Uber (for Uber Technologies Inc.) is a San Francisco-based international transportation network company that operates the Uber mobile app, which allows consumers with smartphones to submit a trip request, which is then routed to Uber drivers who use their own cars.
Uber became operational in the Philippines in May 2015 (as Uber Manila) with the Department of Transportation and Communications classifying it as a transportation network vehicle service along with GrabCar and Easy Taxi.
However, taxi companies and certain legislators launched a legal challenge against Uber, alleging that its use of drivers who are not licensed to drive taxicabs was unsafe and illegal.
Uber Manila’s operations became legal only on Aug. 19 when the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board approved Uber’s application as a transportation network company.
For Uy, the innovations that the Uber business is introducing have improved her life.
“Once you become an active partner-driver and with a vehicle already assigned to your account, you have the option to rent an Uber app-ready phone (a P5,000 worth Asus Zenfone C) or, in my case, use my personal mobile phone—an iPhone—and just load the Uber Partner app. This option enabled me to avoid the rent-to-own fee,” she said.
According to Uy, with today’s technological conveniences—Internet connection and near-flawless turn-by-turn navigation app —almost anyone can be an expert.
“Much has changed thanks to the advent of technology and smartphones. In fact, using Uber Partner app, I am able to take my passengers to their destinations via the shortest or least congested route, to places where I’ve never been before,” she said.
An Uber Partner app relies on Google Maps for navigation (in both iOS and Android operating systems).
“Interestingly, the Uber Partner app that I updated recently brought several navigation options to my iPhone as it now includes Waze, which I have been relying on ever since I started driving for Uber,” Uy said.
Along came Waze
The Waze app was previously not included in the Uber Partner app and Uy had to switch between apps when needing a more reliable turn-by-turn navigation.
For anyone looking for more reliable traffic data than Apple’s and Google’s stock map apps, the Israeli-founded Waze is definitely worth a download.
Credit for this must go to the Waze members who share—via features in the app—information to other motorists of traffic jams, road accidents, roadworks and other developments that could potentially be in the routes of a future traveler. Waze can quickly calculate and offer alternate routes in real time and in a more efficient manner than most of the traffic apps currently backing GPS systems.
It was for this reason that Google bought Waze in 2013 for $1 billion and immediately integrated its technology into Google Maps. Interestingly, Google Ventures, the search giant’s venture capital arm, invested $258 million in Uber in August 2013.
Thanks to these recent partnerships and integration, using the most recent version of the Uber Partner app is quite easy.
“To hail a ride, the passenger must enter a destination on his or her phone. That data is automatically fed to my screen once I pick up the passenger. Then, the Uber Partner app will immediately direct me on the best route to that destination. Previously, I used to juggle multiple apps or waste time typing in an address,” Uy said.
Perhaps in preparation for Google Maps’ plan to develop its own ride-sharing app, Uber is now in the process of developing its own mapping software. In March, Uber purchased deCarta, a San Jose, California-based geolocation start-up that offers digital maps as well as specializes in searches with local, location-based results, and turn-by-turn navigation, including making driving directions cognizant of traffic conditions.
Since its launch in 2010, Uber has become a start-up supernova, transforming into a nearly $51-billion company while transporting millions of people through its more than 200,000 drivers operating in more than 300 cities.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.