Metro Manila · Cab/Taxi
For Megacitizens, taxis are the main means of public transportation in Manila. You can see them at every corner of the city at every time of the day. Only problem: the more you need a cab, the less likely you will find one! During rush hour or when it is raining cats and dogs it will be difficult to get hold of a taxi.
Taxis are all air-conditioned and bring you from spot A to spot B. They are equipped with a meter, starting with a flag down of 40 pesos. Rate per 300 meters is 3.50 pesos, and another 3.50 pesos for every two minutes of waiting time at traffic lights and so on.
Taxis from the airport start at 70 pesos, and their rates per meter and minute are higher as well. You can also get taxis with fixed prices at the airport. However, these are always considerably more expensive than any metered cabs. If you would like to get a metered taxi, it is best to go up the departure area upon arrival to get to the metered taxi lane. However, one must note that even if you are at a metered taxi lane, some drivers will still be asking for a tip.
Some taxi drivers tend to 'forget' switching on the meters. Just have a look after you enter the taxi and if the driver does not switch it on after 20-30 seconds remind him gently. Saying 'metro po' would be a polite way of doing so.
Tips and fixed prices
Depending on the season, the cab company and the driver, you will sometimes be asked to 'add some money' or agree on a 'fixed price'. The usual arguments are 'too much traffic', 'not enough traffic', 'too far', or equally reasonable excuses. It is up to you how to respond to this, but especially during rush hour, it might be easiest to just 'add some money on top' - which basically means giving a higher tip than usual. Drivers usually do not haggle if you take a cab from an official taxi line (see video below). Every bigger shopping mall has these waiting lines.
While not giving any tip at all is perfectly alright, 10 to 15 % tip make the taxi driver happy.
There are some horror stories about taxi drives out there, including mugging and kidnapping of passengers. As a precaution you can trace the way your taxi is taking on your smartphone and/or text a friend the number of the cab. The number has to be written down inside the car, most of the time on the doors. Keep the windows up and doors locked and do not let strangers take a ride with you, regardless of how friendly they ask.
Tired out drivers can be a problem, too, especially late in the evening and at night, as they usually work dragging shifts of 12 to up to 24 hours.
If you do not feel comfortable with your driver, just ask him at the next busy street corner to drop you, pay him and look for another cab.
Calling a cab
Sometimes it might be necessary to call a cab company to send you a taxi. The price might be a bit higher but in some parts (especially if you are living inside a subdivision) there will be no taxis roaming around. Also for longer travels through the Megacity, it is recommended to order a taxi as most drivers do not want to drive far - just around the corner is the preferred length of a cab ride.
Trusted and reliable cab companies to call up are for example:
- (+63) 2 364 8260
- (+63) 2 363 6096
- (+63) 2 366 6214
- (+63) 2 366 6287
- (+63) 2 772 2715
The Taxi App: booking cabs online
Grab offers an app for smartphones and tablets that allows you to instantly track the taxis near you and to book one online. The app makes getting a cab not only faster but also more secure, as it provides you with the driver's name, plate number, phone number, and estimated fare. That way you can inform others about your ride even before it picks you up. Download of the app as well as registration are for free, and drivers are supposed to turn on the meter only when you have entered the car. However, there is a 70 pesos booking fare.
Similarly, Easy Taxi (Easytaxi.com) lets commuters request for a taxi with just a click of a button on their Androd and iOS devices. Passengers need also to pay an additional P70 on top of the P40 flag down rate. Just make sure that your phone has a strong Internet connection so the Easy Taxi cab can track you down fast.