I'm now in Manila, Philippines, and just like in most other big cities, taxi drivers here get a bad reputation. I actually try to avoid taxis in most cities unless I have no other option. Last time I was here was almost 3 years ago and have only used the taxi a couple of times and it was fine. But I've heard enough stories of taxi drivers refusing to use the meter or having a rigged meter, overcharging, using the longer route, and giving fake change that I decided it's finally time to check out this thing called Uber.
I've only heard good things about Uber from people who have used it. I like the idea of knowing when your ride will arrive, getting an estimate how much the ride will cost, and not having to pay the driver directly so you don't have to worry about tipping and making sure you have enough smaller bills as the driver may not have any change (actually happened to me on the way to my accommodation from the airport and decided to just let the driver keep the change which was actually a pretty big tip).
I used it for the first time last night after attending a CS event as it was late and the MRT lines were no longer running. I was quite impressed with the experience, very painless. To get started, you just sign up, enter your credit card, download the app, and confirm your phone number via SMS. To use it is as simple as tapping on your screen to set a pick up location and tapping the "Request" button. You can optionally get a fare estimate by entering your destination. After requesting, you can see how far away the taxi is, the picture of the taxi driver, his/her rating, the car model and license plate number. Within 3 minutes, the taxi was a few feet away from me. I got on, he had the destination already on his smartphone, drove me to my place, I said thanks and got out. That's it. I then got an email later giving me a summary of the entire ride: departure and arrival time, trip time, distance, driver, and the total fare.
It's so convenient that I think this will now be my primary form of transportation here in Manila. Taxi is still pretty cheap here and while public transportation is still way cheaper, the convenience and time savings is more than worth it for me. This first Uber ride I took was around 5 km, for example, and cost me less than $2.
If you haven't tried Uber yet, I highly recommend you give it a shot. You can use my promo code to get a free ride worth up to $15.