Uber is hitting passengers with some new fees, created to entice drivers who don’t want to wait for slow passengers, drive longer distances for out-of-the-way pickups or deal with last-minute trip cancellations.
Drivers will now earn standard time and distance rates on the way to a long pickup, in addition to the standard fare. “So if it’s a 40-minute pickup, which hopefully never happens and is extremely rare, it would be some segment of 40 minutes,” Aaron Schildkrout, head of driver product at Uber, told The Verge.
Although the amount of the extra charges will depend on the market and the length of the pickup, typically drivers will start to earn standard time and distance rates after eight or 11 minutes of driving to pick up the rider, depending on the city.
Of course, riders are sure to be unhappy about the extra fees, but Schildkrout said it will solve a problem for them as well. “It’s not always as easy to get a car in the suburbs as it is in the city,” he said. “Even in the outskirts of a city, people sometimes have this experience. So, from a driver’s perspective, it’s easy to see why this makes sense: You’re more likely to forgo trips with long ETAs … With this change, we hope to make those long trips more worth drivers’ while. And for riders, we hope this means they’ll able to get a ride reliably wherever they are.”
In addition, Uber is updating its cancellation policy so that the fee relates to time and distance. “We’ve updated our technology to actually detect progress by the driver toward the rider, so we can be more nuanced about when to charge a rider a cancellation fee,” Schildkrout said.
Riders will also be charged for making drivers wait longer than two minutes, in an extension of a pilot that started last year in New York City, New Jersey, Phoenix and Dallas. Those fees will also vary, but a wait time of three minutes and 45 seconds would cost a passenger $0.86 in added fees.