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Those who know me personally will notice that I don’t drive a car. I don’t believe in owning and driving my own car for two reasons: 1) driving in Metro Manila can quickly become a nightmare, and 2) the total cost of ownership for a vehicle is not cost-effective. I am all too familiar with the heavy traffic and flooding that make driving in Manila a pain and paying for a taxi including tips is still far lower compared to owning and maintaining a vehicle. If I add a driver into the mix it only makes the case for owning a car even worse than it already is.

I take taxis a lot because there’s a lot of them available and they are relatively cheap in the Philippines. However, they do have their own set of drawbacks such as dirty vehicles and problematic drivers. These problems are as temporary as the journey but I’m pretty sure the situation could be better for people like me who don’t want to own and drive a car. With the introduction of Uber in Manila last February things are looking up.

Uber is an on-demand transportation app where you can request for a ride with just a few taps on your smartphone. Their drivers are properly screened, the cars are relatively new and well-maintained, and provides a seamless riding experience by charging rides to your credit card. The cars are unmarked so it’s like having your own private driver available anytime, anywhere.

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Uber has two variants of its service in Manila: Black Car and UberX. Black Car is the original Uber with cars such as Mitsubishi Montero Sport, Toyota Fortuner, Toyota Altis and sometimes a Subaru Forrester. UberX is the recently introduced low-cost offering with cars such as Hyundai Accent, Toyota Vios, Toyota Innova, Mitsubishi Adventure, Mitsubishi Mirage, Chevrolet Spin and sometimes a Toyota Altis or Honda Civic.

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I’ve ridden Uber almost exclusively in the last three weeks and the experience has been great. The cars are clean, drivers drive safely and will be the ones to get in touch with you if the need arises. In Makati Central Business Distrct and Bonifacio Global City there are plenty of cars available and getting a ride takes less than 10 minutes on average. I don’t have to worry about having enough change to pay the driver and there’s no need to tip. When I arrive at my destination I just walk out of the vehicle like it’s my own.

I love riding Uber and I believe that anyone who hasn’t tried it should. You can sign up for Uber here or download the app for iOS, Android and Windows Phone, then sign up using the code uberbespokeman to get Php 300 off your first ride. By signing up using my personal referral code I get Php 300 credit that I can use to keep riding Uber.