On the heels of ride-sharing services Uber and GrabCar comes a new transport service platform. U-Hop, dubbed as an “interconnected shuttle service”, is another app-based ride-sharing service but it is different in that up to seven passengers can share a ride on a U-Hop trip. This feature is where U-Hop has an advantage over other services since the effect is not to add vehicles on the road but to actually reduce their number since people will be sharing rides. Considering that traffic in Metro Manila is at its worst, U-Hop claims it is a solution to the problem.
U-Hop has already applied for accreditation as a transportation network company (TNC) with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and should operate soon, although some issues may have recently surfaced that could derail U-Hop’s start. But if Uber and GrabCar are allowed to operate in the Philippines, there’s no reason that U-Hop shouldn’t be given the proper license to operate.
HOW U-HOP WORKS
With U-Hop, there are partner vehicles which will be used to shuttle passengers. Owners of partner vehicles are called operators. Passengers, called members, must first register then download the U-Hop app before they can book rides. Fees are paid in advance and they cost P693 weekly or P2,970 monthly. These fees are for roundtrip rides so they sound reasonable enough. There’s an option to get unlimited rides which are priced at P1,400 for the weekly rides and P6,000 for the monthly rides.
When booking a trip, a U-Hop member can choose the pick-up point, the time and the destination. Once the system has generated the route, an assigned vehicle will then pick up the passengers.
If you feel that U-Hop isn’t secure, passengers are issued membership cards which will then identify them in rides. Other IDs are also required for added security. Additionally, U-Hop’s control center monitors each trip so it tracks shuttles’ location. This informs the control center whether the shuttles are going beyond their designated service area. The control center can in fact stop the engine of the vehicle in case of emergencies.
For operators, U-Hop makes sure that income is equally divided regardless of the number of trips actually made. This removes competition from operators.
U-Hop will operate in areas in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna and Metro Cebu.
For more information on U-Hop, you may watch these videos, one intended for members and one for operators.
PREMIUM U-HOP OFFERING
Very recently, it was reported that U-Hop will also be entering the luxury service segment. Instead of land vehicles, U-Hop will be transporting members to destinations using private planes, choppers and yachts. The details of this premium service are unavailable at this point but its pricing scheme would undoubtedly be more expensive than the one used for land vehicles.
U-Hop has lofty intentions but it remains to be seen if it can find success in the Philippines. Will you book a U-Hop ride? Share your thoughts.