Words Earl Manalasan
The ancient Chinese proverb “In every crisis, there is opportunity” has never been truer than now. What seems to be insurmountable hardships can actually offer positive outlooks if you only know where to look.
Take the traffic situation, for example: What used to be a 30-minute drive is now a two-hour punishment, with productivity taking the most serious hit. With so much time wasted in daily commute, enterprising individuals have come up with ideas to circumvent this problem.
It was basically how many online delivery businesses started. They saw a potential in an otherwise chaotic world and said, “If people cannot come to us, we will go to them.” They took away the dreaded travel time and, with the help of technology, replaced it with browsing time that is far more convenient and efficient for both customer and enterprise.
We’ve been enjoying some of these innovations for a while. Lalamove, Transportify, and Grab Delivery have taken online delivery services to a whole new level with their “pick up anything and deliver anywhere” motto.
Unlike before, you don’t even need to wait the next day just to get hold of the items you bought. Need a set of gaskets for your car that’s being repaired? Order from your trusted shop via phone or online, book a delivery, and the riders/drivers would be happy to take it to you pronto. Want a specific set of tires from a specialty shop in Quezon City and bring it to Makati? No problem, too! And it doesn’t even have to be something you bought from a store. Forgot your LTO documents at home? Have them pick up the item and deliver it to you.
This quick delivery service model has really sat well with the food industry. Want a burger from a mall and have it delivered to your wife? Easy! Call up services like Foodpanda, Grab Food, or Honestbee and you’ll be biting into your yummy cravings in no time.
That said, you don’t even have to line up at counters just to pay for your goods and services anymore. Thanks to apps like BayadCenter, QwikPay, PayMaya, and GCash, you can easily and quickly transact payments from your bank account or credit card through your electronic wallet and straight to your merchant.
Even utility bills can now be paid through these apps, eliminating the need to go to their individual offices to pay. Although banks were the first to offer bill payment by enrolling in their program, having an account with them was a stumbling block to many individuals. Online bills payment offered what banks cannot: convenience in payment.
Car owners, of course, won’t be left out in this race. On-demand 24/7 roadside assistance services are now downloadable and available for both iOS and Android devices.
MyCasaPh and beepbeep.ph are two groundbreaking companies offering more conveniences for automotive services. Say, your car won’t start and is stuck in your home garage. Just a few taps on their website or app and your preferred car service center will send a guy over to your home to check up and fix your car. If it needs special attention, they can take your car out for you to the service center and deliver it back in its utmost condition. You now have more time to do more important things.
For emergency situations, the Motolite ResQ app is perhaps the most trusted service out there. What started out as a hotline for car battery delivery has now evolved into a nearly full-fledged emergency automotive service offering to even help change your tires or buy fuel for you when you run out.
Even the simple car wash is now app-based. Pap’s Mobile Carwash is a downloadable app that lets you pick a certain car cleaning service or get the whole package. Aside from car wash, services include wax/buff, interior cleaning, and detailing. You can also pay with credit or debit cards; and you can track the team in real time, especially if you are not at home.
With these services, even older cars can enjoy the same conveniences (talk about equality!). The other good thing about these services as well is that most of them are connected to the company’s social media channels so you can personally talk to a human service representative.
For commuters, conveniences such as prepaid fare cards are also available. The BeepCard is an automated payment system that you can use on both the MRT and LRT train lines, as well as in some Point-to-Point or P2P buses. It can even be used to pay expressway toll fess. The BeepCard can be loaded with the required amount thru convenience stores and supermarkets, as well as online payment service. This puts out the hassle of carrying cash.
Different business opportunities have developed ever since traffic jams in Metro Manila basically destroyed our everyday timetable. Thanks to technology and enterprising individuals, there are now ways to make things easier for the Filipino commuter and motorist. All they need is a smart phone and data connection.
This story was originally published in Speed Magazine’s January 2019 issue.