[By Chris McGinnis] Reacting to the passage of AB5, a new California law that regulates how companies hire contract workers, Uber is testing a new way to price rides at three California airports. Currently, the trial is underway in Sacramento, Palm Springs and Santa Barbara airports. The trial allows Uber drivers to set their own fares, which means they can bid them up as they please. But riders requesting rides on the app won’t notice much change; they will only see the lowest bid. Then, based on supply and demand, higher rates could show up. The Wall Street Journal reports that drivers can increase fares in 10-percent increments, maxing out at five times the Uber-estimated fare. An Uber spokesperson told SFGATE: “Since AB5 has gone into effect, we’ve made a number of product changes to preserve flexible work for tens of thousands of California drivers. We’re now doing an initial test of additional changes which would give drivers more control over the rates they charge riders.” The first change was a switch to “estimated” pricing for rides when requesting a non-Pool ride in California. Before this (and in the rest of the country), the final price for a ride was set by Uber at the beginning of the ride. Now, the price is calculated at the end of the trip. But for this trial, the driver sets their own fare at the beginning of the trip instead of accepting the Uber-estimated fare. If the trial is successful, Uber could roll it out to larger airports such as San Francisco or Los Angeles.


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