May 27, 2019

The past two years have been rocky for the ride-hailing industry after a series of events that mostly left us, commuters, confused.

It started when Uber exited from Southeast Asia, which gave its primary competitor Grab the monopoly over ride-sharing apps in the Philippines. The exit also allowed the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to implement stricter measures regarding the accreditation of other transportation network vehicle service (TNVS) providers, much to the dismay of the riding public.

New ride-hailing apps such as MiCab, Hirna, and Owto were introduced last year, giving commuters more options to choose from. But the growing demand for TNVS cars was so much more than the actual supply. The new apps failed to get regular riders, too, due to technical difficulties in the apps.

To cut the long story short, the LTFRB accepted more TNVS applications this year to cap the rising demand not just for Grab, but also with other ride-hailing apps. Recently, there’s been an upsurge of Owto users on social media, claiming that it’s a lot cheaper than Grab’s rates.

The ride-hailing app promises fairer fares while maintaining a safe riding experience for both commuters and drivers. Launched in 2018, Owto prides itself to be 100 percent Filipino-owned. It was just accredited by the LTFRB late last year. As of writing, Owto mostly serves Makati, BGC, Ortigas, and Quezon City.

There are three types of vehicles to choose from: Owto Premium (regular cars), Owto More (6-seater SUVs), and Owto Class (high-end cars). Currently, you can only pay in cash. You can also have your student, senior, or persons-with-disability ID registered for discounts.

Our colleague’s usual Grab fare from her home to work ranges from P250-300.
Leaving at the same time with the same pick-up and drop-off locations, she got P100 off with Owto from her usual fare. She also suggests booking ahead of time due to Owto’s lack of drivers.

If you’ve used ride-hailing apps before, then you pretty much know how booking a ride works. But if you haven’t, it’s pretty much self-explanatory. Once you’ve registered, just pin in your location and destination, select a type of vehicle, click book, then wait for your ride.

While the app definitely holds much potential, only time will tell if it truly lives up to its promise.

Owto is available for free at Google Play and the App Store.


Header image courtesy of Niño Orbeta of

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TAGS: Grab LTFRB owto ride-hailing apps TNVS