Uber said Friday that, starting next week, it will show drivers the full fare charged to their customers, instead of one that was significantly lower.
The new policy means that the drivers will see their “driver benefits and marketplace fees” to total what the rider pays.
Last week, Mission Local published a story revealing that Uber drivers are shown a fare that is less than what passengers actually pay. The story incited much public outrage, and on Friday, Uber told Mission Local in an email that it will change that practice starting next week.
“We have changed our policy and drivers will now see the driver benefits and marketplace fees which were previously only shown to riders,” an Uber spokesperson said. “This takes effect next week.”
Previously, these fees were excluded from the “customer price” Uber showed drivers, which the company told Mission Local last week upon inquiry.
This meant that for drivers, it appeared Uber’s fraction of each fare was less than it actually is.
Uber told Mission Local that “the change has been in the works.” However, for the original story, the company did not mention any plans to change it. Others interviewed disagree that the company was on the verge of change.
“The discrepancies in the rates between workers and riders is nothing short of wage theft. Uber only made a change when they were called out by drivers and received negative press,” said Lauren Casey, an organizer with Gig Workers Rising. “This is a victory for workers who chose to speak out against a powerful tech giant.”
After publication, Uber strongly disagreed with this characterization: “During this entire time drivers in California are earning $32-$33 an hour without incentives, and more than $42 an hour with incentives,” spokesperson Zahid Arab wrote in an email. “Those that aren’t are paid a competitive wage thanks to Prop. 22.”
Mission Local previously booked 10 rides with Uber and 10 with Lyft, and drivers shared their fares with Mission Local. What we found was that in five out of five rides where drivers accessed their fare breakdowns and compared it to my fare, I paid 19.6 percent to 26.3 percent more than what Uber was telling drivers. So, I was paying around $3 more per trip than drivers were told.
Asked why Uber doesn’t show drivers the full fare, Uber had told Mission Local in a statement, “drivers see breakdowns that apply to them on the trip.”
“I prefer the full transparency,” said James Allen, an Uber driver interviewed for the original story, after Mission Local broke Friday’s news. “If there are fees that have to be paid, I would like to know about that. I think that’s good for me to be able to inform customers why the prices might be a little higher than they expected.”
Brian Dolber, an organizer with the independent organization Rideshare Drivers United, added on Friday, “I think drivers should know the full amount that’s being paid, and hopefully these are honest numbers that the drivers are seeing, and that will inspire more drivers to see that they should be getting a higher cut.”
*By David Mamaril Horowitz, Mission Local*