'U-Go' eyes January 2018 launch

Move over Grab and Uber!

U-Go, a new transport network company, is ready to serve not only the riders but also the drivers and operators in the country in January 2018.

In partnership with the Philippine Transportation Network Organization, U-Go was built and designed specifically for the Philippine market.

"U-Go is a Filipino app. Tangkilikin natin ang sariling atin dahil ito ay para sa mga Pilipino. Para sa atin ito," said Norman Castillo, chairman of U-Go Philippines, during a press briefing held at Limbaga 77 Restaurant in Morato, Quezon City on Nov. 6. "With us, U-Go places."

Castillo said that the team is almost done with the accreditation requirements with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

"Nung nag-start kami with LTFRB, nagko consult agad kami sa kanila. Kinonsult natin 'yun step-by-step. Even 'yung mga matrix and incentives. Tinanong din kami before tungkol sa surges. So we consulted them before we applied," Castillo said.

"Hopefully, January. We still have to pass the LTFRB. Tapos i-te-test pa natin locally to make sure na walang problems tayong ma-encounter kasi the moment magkaroon tayo ng problem sa app, mas mahirap. So gusto muna natin 'yan ma-test up to 75 days  bago natin i-launch," he added.

Castillo said that the U-Go app started to be developed early this year. "So marami na po tayong testing na ginawa. Even kay LTFRB nag-initial demo na po tayo sometime in July on how the app will work."

Also joining the press briefing were John Codorniz, technical operations for U-Go Philippines; Mitch Matias, also of U-Go Philippines; film director Gerardo Calagui; and film producer Manny Marinay.

Matias also invited riders, drivers and operators to join the PTNO 2nd Transport Network Vehicle Services (TNVS) Convention which will be held at the Metrowalk in Pasig City on Nov. 10-12.

"Ito ay araw nating mga TNVS operators and drivers na ginagawa taun-taon upang tayo ay sumaya at makilala ang iba pang kasamahan sa daan - kapalit ng araw-araw nating pakikipagsapalaran sa kalye, at higit sa lahat magpaulan ng limpak-limpak na pa-premyo sa PTNO La Familia - sampu sa pamilya aty kaibigan nito sa tulong ng ating mga sponsors at partners," Matias said.

Here are 7 other reasons why (U-Go) Orange may just be the new black and green:

1. Lower system charge—Grab and Uber usually charge a 20 percent system fee to the driver for using the app. U-Go said it will only be charging 10 percent per ride.

2. A more reachable and reasonable incentive system: When it first entered the market Grab and Uber gave out almost unbelievable incentives to its drivers prompting a lot of them to quit their jobs or get their own vehicles. Unfortunately when the incentive system changed it the requirements to qualify for incentives became too difficult for the drivers. U-Go said it would be implementing a more attainable incentive system so that drivers wouldn’t be forced to choose passengers or drive even longer hours to reach the quota.

3. Fairer Fares: U-Go fare system is based on the regular taxi system and while there will also be surges during rush hours, the company assured it wouldn’t reach unreasonable or astronomical fares.

4. On Route Pickups: For part timer partners, the U-Go system can detect whether you are going to work or home and will only assign you passengers that are enroute to your destination.

5. Book via Text: Another unique feature of the app is that it allows you to book a ride via SMS so even if you have no data or wi-fi signal you can still book a ride.

6. Scheduled rides: This feature allows you to book for family members and schedule the time of their pickups.

7. SOS Alert : Perhaps the most unique feature of U-Go and most important as well is the SOS function. To make sure that both passenger and rider are always safe, there will be an SOS button on the app which passenger or rider can tap to alert nearby police that they are in danger and give the authorities their coordinates. - ROBERT REQUINTINA

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