A huge percentage of taxi drivers already have plans to switch to Uber and Grab in hopes of better income, based on our own survey in the past weeks.
36 out of the 55 or around 65% of the taxi drivers we have conversed with during my daily morning trips have expressed their interest in applying to become a driver for said Transport Network Vehicle Service companies. Driver “Ernesto” is keen to hop in as early as next month, citing declining profits as Uber and Grab become the more preferred service by the riding public. “Yung kinakaltas sa’min na boundary e tumataas na, pero nalulugi kami sa hina ng pasada namin sa kalsada. Tingin ko kikita ako ng malaki kung magddrive ako for Uber.”
Taxi Driver “Randy”, on the other hand, sees the opportunity with Uber and Grab as a better alternative. “Tingin ko kasi kung may opportunity para sa akin na makapagdrive for Uber, e hindi naman ako magrereklamo. Mahirap na din kasi kumuha ng pasahero ngayon sa taxi lalo na’t may Uber nanaman.”
Other drivers, on the other hand, lamented the abundance of Transport Network Vehicles (TNVs) on the road. Driver “Charlie” went on to lash out against TNVS companies during my trip with him. “Dapat lang talaga na nasuspend sila kasi pinahihirapan lang nila kaming mga taxi drivers. Hindi naman kasi kami lagi yung [dahilan kung] bakit kami nagagalit din sa mga customer — minsan may naisakay ako na ang sabi niya e sa Tandang Sora (Quezon City) lang siya, pero pinalagpas pa niya at gustong ihatid pa siya sa Congressional [Avenue].”
A few are seeing Uber and Grab as not competitors but rather better vehicles to look up as a model on, and do not see themselves transferring in the future. Driver “Bryan” feels like it’s a challenge for him to step up and do better things. “Sa driver din yan minsan, parang umaasa nalang sila sa kung anong ‘andyan para kumita. ‘Pag alam kong kailangang magkapera, pupunta ako sa mga alam kong kukunin ako para ihatid ko sila ng maayos. Tatambay ako dun sa mga lugar na alam kong may demand sa taxi ko.”
This survey was done during weekday mornings of July to September with a route of Sandiganbayan to MRT3 in EDSA. This may not be the overall sentiment, but we can see that drivers are really feeling the TNVs as a stiff rival in providing transport for the masses.