manila, city, philippines
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Uber no longer operates in Manila, having ceased operations in 2018. The ride-sharing market in Manila is now dominated by other services, such as Grab, which offers similar features to Uber. Manila’s transportation options range from traditional taxis and tricycles to modern ride-sharing apps and a developing rail and bus system.

Welcome to Manila, a bustling metropolis known for its vibrant culture, stunning landmarks, and dynamic transportation network. If you’re visiting Manila, understanding the local transport options can greatly enhance your experience, allowing you to navigate the city with ease. While Uber is no longer available, several alternatives provide excellent service across the city.

Is There Uber in Manila?

cartoon of man ordering a taxi, a large phone shows the different options for different taxis
Image by storyset on Freepik

Uber ceased its operations in Manila in 2018, merging with the Southeast Asian giant, Grab. Grab has since become the go-to ride-sharing app in Manila, offering a range of services from basic rides to premium options. The platform is popular for its reliability, safety features, and ease of use, making it a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

Alternative Rideshare Apps in Manila Grab, Angkas, JoyRide and Moveit

Besides Grab, Manila has seen a variety of other ride-sharing apps trying to fill the gap left by Uber. Angkas, for instance, is particularly popular for beating the traffic by offering motorcycle rides. Another option, JoyRide, also provides both motorcycle and car rides, catering to different preferences and needs. These apps are generally seen as safe and are regulated by the Philippine government to ensure fair practices and safety.

Manila’s ride-sharing scene is vibrant and constantly evolving. Here’s a closer look at the top services available:

Grab

  • Services Offered: Grab offers a comprehensive range of services including GrabCar for private rides, GrabTaxi for hailing regular taxis through the app, and GrabShare, which allows for carpooling at a reduced fare.
  • Benefits: It’s widely used due to its extensive network of drivers and diverse service options. Grab also includes food delivery and parcel delivery services, making it a multi-functional app that caters to various needs beyond transportation.
  • App Features: Real-time GPS tracking of rides, fare estimation before booking, multiple payment options including cash, and a user-friendly interface.
  • Availability: Available throughout all major areas in Manila and in surrounding provinces.
  • Safety Measures: Grab implements strict safety protocols, including driver background checks, in-app emergency buttons, and real-time ride monitoring.

Download Grab: Grab on Google Play | Grab on the App Store

Angkas

  • Services Offered: Angkas primarily offers motorcycle rides, which are an excellent option for solo travelers looking to navigate Manila’s traffic more efficiently.
  • Benefits: Motorcycles can weave through traffic, significantly reducing travel time during rush hours. It’s also cheaper than car rides.
  • App Features: Includes safety features like provided helmets, trained drivers, and an emergency contact feature within the app.
  • Availability: Strong presence in Metro Manila and other key urban areas.
  • Safety Measures: Drivers are trained for safety and customer service, and all rides include insurance for both rider and passenger.

Download Angkas: Angkas on Google Play | Angkas on the App Store

JoyRide

  • Services Offered: Offers both car and motorcycle rides, providing users with more options depending on their needs and comfort.
  • Benefits: A good alternative to Grab with competitive pricing and usually shorter waiting times for pickups.
  • App Features: Features include easy booking, multiple payment methods, and fare estimates.
  • Availability: Available in Manila and expanding into other cities in the Philippines.
  • Safety Measures: Similar to other apps, JoyRide ensures that all drivers are vetted and trained, emphasizing user safety with features like in-app emergency calls.

Download JoyRide: JoyRide on Google Play | JoyRide on the App Store

Move It

Move It is another solid option for those preferring motorcycle transport, offering reliable and speedy service tailored to navigate Manila’s bustling environment.

  • Services Offered: Move It focuses exclusively on motorcycle taxis, similar to Angkas, providing an alternative for quick and affordable rides around congested city streets.
  • Benefits: The service is especially appealing for those looking to save time during heavy traffic periods. It’s cost-effective, making it a popular choice for daily commutes.
  • App Features: User-friendly interface, quick booking process, and transparent fare calculation.
  • Availability: Primarily available in Metro Manila, catering to urban commuters.
  • Safety Measures: Move It ensures that all motorcycle riders receive proper training and safety equipment. Passengers are provided with helmets and are covered by insurance during their rides.

Download Move It: Move It on Google Play | Move It on the App Store

Taxis in Manila

ride share taxi app with taxi with backdrop of a city
Image by Freepik

In Manila, traditional taxis continue to be a staple mode of transportation. They are readily available across the city and offer a direct, private way to travel from one location to another without the need for prior app downloads or internet access.

Are Taxis Cheap in Manila?

Taxis in Manila are relatively affordable compared to many other major cities worldwide. However, compared to ride-sharing options like Grab or motorcycle taxis such as Angkas, they can sometimes be on the pricier side, especially during rush hours due to traffic-related delays, which increase the metered fare.

How Much Do Taxis Cost in Manila?

Taxis in Manila charge a flag-down rate of PHP 40.00 (approximately $0.75 USD), with an additional charge of around PHP 13.50 to PHP 15.00 per kilometer thereafter (around $0.25 USD). Traffic conditions can significantly affect the overall cost, as the meter continues to run even when the taxi is stationary at a rate of a few PHP per minute.

A short ride a few kilometers in downtown Manila might cost PHP 150 ($2.50 USD) depending on traffic while a longer trip around 10 kilometers might cost PHP 300 ($5 USD) with depending on traffic.

Do Taxis Accept Credit Cards in Manila?

Most taxis in Manila only accept cash payments. While there are some taxi services that offer credit card facilities or payment through mobile apps, they are not the norm, and it’s always best to have cash on hand for taxi rides.

How Do I Catch a Taxi in Manila?

Taxis can be hailed directly from the street, found at designated taxi stands in shopping malls, hotels, and airports. If you are at a hotel or restaurant you can also ask staff to call a taxi for you.

Issues With Taxis in Manila

Some tourists and travelers have reported issues taking taxis in Manila. Getting a taxi can be challenging. Communicating where you want to go can be difficult due to language barriers. Foreigners can also be targets for taxi scams in Manila, especially in tourist hotspots.

Common Taxi Scams in Manila?

Some common scams include drivers taking longer routes to increase the fare and claiming that the meter is broken to negotiate a higher flat rate. Always insist on using the meter, and if a driver refuses, it is advisable to find another taxi.

  • Broken Meter Scam: Drivers claim that the meter is broken to negotiate a higher flat rate before the journey begins.
  • Long-Hauling: Taking unnecessarily long routes to increase the fare, especially common when drivers realize passengers are unfamiliar with the area.
  • Roundabout Routes: Drivers take indirect paths even when direct routes are available, claiming traffic issues or road closures.
  • Airport Overcharge: Charging exorbitant rates from airports by convincing travelers of set airport taxi rates which are significantly marked up.
  • Rigged Meter: Using a rigged meter that runs faster than usual, dramatically increasing the fare in a short time.
  • Refusal to Give Change: Drivers claim they don’t have change in hopes that passengers will round up to a significantly higher amount.
  • Surcharge Scam: Claiming additional fares to the metred fare without any official surcharge. Verify fare policies beforehand or use a ride-hailing app that doesn’t allow for arbitrary fare increases.
  • ‘No Change’ Trick: After receiving a large note, the driver insists on keeping it all due to a lack of change, forcing the passenger to overpay.
  • Collusion with Locals: Sometimes, drivers might collude with local businesses or hotels to take you to specific places for a commission, even if it’s not your intended destination.
  • The Breakdown: Your taxi driver suffers a flat tire or other breakdown and pulls over on the side of the road. Luckily, another cab arrives to help you continue your journey but offer an inflated fare as you have limited options.

Are Taxis Safe in Manila?

Taxis are generally safe, but it’s advisable to be cautious, especially when traveling late at night. Always ensure that the taxi meter is turned on to avoid being overcharged. Using an app to book taxis can also add an extra layer of safety by providing driver details and the ability to share your ride details with friends or family.

Being aware of these tactics can help travelers stay vigilant and ensure a fair transaction.

Do I Need to Tip Taxi Drivers in Manila?

Tipping is not mandatory but is appreciated. Many passengers round up to the nearest ten or fifty pesos as a tip, especially if the driver has been helpful and honest.

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Other Ways to Get Around Manila

Bus and bus driver at a bus stop

Manila offers a multitude of transportation options beyond taxis and ride-sharing apps. Here’s a guide to the other popular modes of transport in the city:

Jeepneys

  • Description: Jeepneys are the most iconic form of transportation in the Philippines. The original Jeepneys were brightly colored, extended jeeps that were originally made from U.S. military jeeps left over from World War II. These Jeepneys were recently phased out by a govenrment program aiming to modernise Jeepney transport. Modern jeepenys are small and effecient minvans
  • How to Use: Jeepneys have specific routes, usually marked on the sides of the vehicle. Passengers hop on and off as needed. Payment is made by passing cash to the driver through other passengers.
  • Cost: Fares start at around PHP 9.00 (approximately 0.17 USD) for the first 4 kilometers, making it one of the cheapest ways to get around.
  • More Information: Use Sakay.ph for schedules, routes and journey planning on public transport in Manila.

Buses

  • Description: Buses in Manila cover extensive routes and are a cost-effective way to travel longer distances within the city.
  • How to Use: Buses have fixed routes and stops. They can be boarded at designated bus stops.
  • Cost: Fares vary depending on the distance but generally start at PHP 12.00 (approximately 0.23 USD).
  • More Information: Use Sakay.ph for schedules, routes and journey planning on public transport in Manila.

Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT)

  • Description: The MRT and LRT are Manila’s rapid transit systems. The MRT runs along EDSA, one of Manila’s main highways, while the LRT has two lines that serve different parts of the city.
  • How to Use: Tickets can be purchased at stations. Be prepared for security checks before entering.
  • Cost: Fares range from PHP 13.00 to PHP 60.00 (approximately 0.25 to 1.14 USD), depending on the distance.
  • More Information: Use Sakay.ph for schedules, routes and journey planning on public transport in Manila.

Ferry Services

  • Description: The Pasig River Ferry Service offers an alternative way to travel through the city, avoiding road traffic altogether.
  • How to Use: Ferries have scheduled services with stops along the Pasig River.
  • Cost: A single-journey ticket costs around PHP 50.00 (about 0.95 USD).
  • More Information: Use Sakay.ph for schedules, routes and journey planning on public transport in Manila.

Tricycles

  • Description: Tricycles are motorized three-wheelers and are commonly used for shorter distances or routes not accessible by larger vehicles.
  • How to Use: They can be hailed on the street, similar to taxis. It’s best to agree on the fare before starting the journey.
  • Cost: Fares are negotiable, usually starting from PHP 20.00 (about 0.38 USD) depending on the distance.
  • More Information: Tricycles are ideal for navigating narrow streets and for quick trips within local neighborhoods.

These diverse modes of transportation provide both practical and cultural insights into daily life in Manila, catering to different needs and preferences.

How Do I Get from the International Airport to the City Center?

Passengers with luggage in airport flat illustration
Image by pch.vector on Freepik

Navigating from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to the heart of Manila can be straightforward with several transport options available. Here’s how you can get to the city center from the airport:

Private Transfer

  • Description: Private airport transfers can be pre-booked, offering a seamless and stress-free way to get to your destination.
  • Cost: Prices vary based on the service provider but generally start around PHP 2000 (about 30 USD) for a one-way trip in a private vehicle.
  • How to Use: Book online in advance.
  • More Information: Private transfers are ideal for those who prefer a more comfortable and personalized service.
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Grab

  • Description: Grab operates extensively at NAIA, providing convenient and reliable service.
  • Cost: The fare to the city center typically ranges from PHP 200 to PHP 500 (approximately $4 to $9 USD), depending on the exact location and traffic conditions.
  • How to Use: Use the Grab app upon arrival to book your ride. There are designated pick-up points for Grab cars at the airport.
  • More Information: This is one of the most preferred methods due to its convenience and safety features.

Taxi

  • Description: There are two types of taxis at the Manila airport, yellow airport taxis that are slightly better, more comfortble taxis that and regular white taxis which are slightly cheaper. Both types of taxis (should) use a metre. Taxis are available at designated taxi ranks outside the airport terminals. Avoid taxi touters within the aiport as they typically offer inflated fares.
  • Cost: Metered fare to the city center usually costs between PHP 300 to PHP 600 (about $6 to $10 USD), subject to final destination traffic conditions an taxi type.
  • How to Use: Queue at the taxi ranks following airport signs; ensure the meter is used once your journey starts.
  • More Information: Always verify that the taxi driver starts the meter to avoid being overcharged.

Flat Rate Coupon Taxi

  • Description: Flat rate coupon taxis are available at designated taxi ranks outside the airport terminals.
  • Cost: Coupon taxis offer flat rates based on your final desitnaion. The fare is more expensive than a properly metered taxi but removes the risk of scams or negotiation over fares. Expect to pay between 400 and 1000 PHP depending on your destination.
  • How to Use: Pre-purchase a coupon for your destination inside the airport. Find the coupon taxi stand outside your terminal. Give the coupon to the driver at your destination.

Airport Bus

  • Description: UBE Express is a bus service that connects NAIA to major points in Metro Manila.
  • Cost: A one-way fare is PHP 150 (about $2.85 USD).
  • How to Use: Tickets can be purchased at the airport or booked online.
  • More Information: Buses are air-conditioned and provide adequate space for luggage, making them a comfortable and economical choice. See the Ube Express website for more details

These options provide a range from the most convenient and comfortable to the most economical and culturally immersive methods to reach Manila’s city center from the airport.

How to Travel Between Cities in the Region

Three passengers on a train reading books and tablets

Traveling between cities in the Philippines from Manila offers various options depending on your time, budget, and preference. Here’s a guide on how you can venture beyond Manila to explore other key cities and destinations:

By Bus

  • Description: Buses are a popular and economical choice for intercity travel in the Philippines.
  • Cost: Fares vary widely depending on the destination and type of service (ordinary or deluxe). For instance, a trip from Manila to Baguio might cost between PHP 450 to PHP 750 (approximately 8.55 to 14.25 USD).
  • How to Use: Major bus terminals are located in Cubao, Pasay, and Manila. Tickets can be purchased at the terminal or booked online in advance.
  • More Information: Deluxe buses offer more comfort and fewer stops, which can be a preferable option for longer trips.

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By Air

  • Description: For far-flung cities, flying can be the most practical mode of travel.
  • Cost: Airfare depends on how far in advance you book and the airline. Promotional fares as low as PHP 1,000 (about 19 USD) are common for destinations like Cebu or Davao.
  • How to Use: Flights can be booked online through various airlines like Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and AirAsia.
  • More Information: Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport serves as the hub for most domestic flights.

By Ferry

  • Description: The Philippines being an archipelago, ferries are a vital mode of transportation to reach various islands.
  • Cost: Ferry prices depend on the route and ferry class; for example, Manila to Cebu might cost around PHP 1,600 (about 30.40 USD) for tourist class.
  • How to Use: Tickets can be purchased at port terminals or booked online through ferry company websites.
  • More Information: Ferry travel offers a scenic route, though it’s slower than flying and subject to weather conditions.

By Private Car

  • Description: Renting a car for intercity travel provides flexibility and comfort.
  • Cost: Daily rental rates start from around PHP 2,500 (47.50 USD), excluding fuel and tolls.
  • How to Use: Several rental agencies are available at the airport or in major cities. An international driver’s permit is usually required for foreign drivers.
  • More Information: Driving allows for exploring at your own pace but be prepared for challenging traffic and occasionally confusing road signs.

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Is There Uber Eats in Manila?

Cartoon image of a man and his phone showing food delivery options

Uber Eats, much like Uber’s ride-sharing service, is not available in Manila. The service was not introduced in the Philippines before Uber’s exit from the ride-sharing market in the region. However, Manila has a vibrant and growing food delivery market serviced by several other platforms.

Alternative Food Delivery Services in Manila

GrabFood

  • Description: Following Uber’s exit, Grab not only took over the ride-sharing market but also expanded into food delivery with GrabFood.Availability: Widely available across Manila and other major cities in the Philippines.App Features: Integrated into the Grab app, it offers a wide range of food options from local eateries to international restaurants.More Information: Users can benefit from combined loyalty rewards across all Grab services including ride-sharing and food delivery.

Download GrabFood: Grab App

Foodpanda

  • Description: A well-established food delivery service that operates extensively in Manila.Availability: Covers a broad area in Manila and offers a diverse selection of food choices.App Features: User-friendly interface, frequent promotions, and discounts, as well as options for contactless delivery.More Information: Foodpanda also provides options for grocery and essential goods delivery under the pandamart and shops features.

Download Foodpanda: Foodpanda on Google Play | Foodpanda on the App Store

Final Thoughts on Uber and Transportation in Manila

Although Uber has exited the Manila market, the city’s transportation options remain robust and versatile. Grab has effectively filled the gap, providing comprehensive ride-sharing services and expanding into food delivery. Manila offers a rich mix of traditional and modern transport methods—from iconic jeepneys and tricycles to efficient ride-sharing apps and an improving public transport system.

For visitors, selecting the right mode of transport can greatly enhance their experience of the city. Apps like Grab and Angkas provide convenience, while traditional taxis and jeepneys offer a glimpse into the local culture. The varied transport options reflect Manila’s dynamic spirit and ensure that both newcomers and locals can navigate the city with ease.

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