Just yesterday, Dec. 16, 2023, a group of friends booked a Grab ride from Tayud, Consolacion to a mall in Mabolo, Cebu City, around 2 p.m. and the fare reached an average of P2,000.
The surge reached P2,000 and above for a Grab Taxi, while a four-seater Grab car would cost around P1,900.
According to Grab’s fare guidelines, a surge in the price of fare happens when there is a huge gap between supply and demand. Meaning, that there are few units traversing the area while the bookings are twice or thrice the number of units.
While the surge lasted only a few minutes, and at 2:20 p.m., the fare returned to around P400-P600 in the Grab app for the same route, the price surge was alarming.
The price surge was a reflection of various factors. One, fewer Grab units could travel the northern cities and towns in Metro Cebu. And two, this may have also been caused by the traffic situation in the North.
Consolacion has been the subject of Cebuanos’ ire for the past few months because of the seemingly never-ending traffic in the area due to the road repairs done.
Consolacion is adjacent to Mandaue City, an equal traffic hotspot, especially around Maguikay.
And the boundaries between Mandaue City and Cebu City, whether in the Banilad area or the North Reclamation Area are regularly jammed due to the constant movement between the two highly industrialized cities.
While the North suffers, the South struggles as much.
Minglanilla has become the “Mandaue” of the South with constant traffic jams along the main highway. The N. Bacalso Highway junction to Osmeña Boulevard in Cebu City is a nightmare due to the ongoing construction of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).
Even the Cebu South Coastal Road is jammed due to the weird U-turn situation at the junction of F. Vestil Street.
The traffic and the demand for movement around the Metro cause fares to skyrocket for ride-hailing apps such as Grab, Angkas, Moveit and Joyride.
As these apps are demand-based, it is highly susceptible to fare changes. Rain could mean double the fare. A jammed route could be thrice the normal fare, and in the case of last Saturday’s surge, it could go up to five times the normal fare.
Taxi prices also increase due to traffic. Metered taxis increase their prices by kilometers and by time lapsed. While every 300 meters charges P4, the taxi also charges around P4 per minute lapsed.
The cost of a taxi ride from SunStar Cebu’s office on P. Del Rosario Street to Cebu Business Park increased from P90 to P180, because of the traffic jams along the way.
Traffic can literally increase the cost of living in Metro Cebu in a time that is already economically difficult.
While this happens every Christmas season, one can wonder why it remains to be a pertinent problem. The leaders have been talking about the Metro Cebu Traffic Plan for decades, yet the BRT has barely started and is causing more problems than solutions.
As years go by, Metro Cebu has slowly become more difficult to live in, a progressing metropolis with an infrastructure that has been left behind.
Honestly, it’s no longer the best place to live in.