Drivers can increase fares up to five times higher than Uber’s set price.
In light of Uber’s recent challenges in California as it continues to push for its drivers to be labeled as independent contractors, the ride share company is testing out a new feature that allows some drivers to select their own ride prices instead of defaulting to a set price from Uber. The Wall Street Journal reports that the feature allows drivers to hike up individual fares in 10% increments capped at five times higher than what Uber’s set price would be for the ride.
This news follows the addition of another new feature being tested in California, which allows passengers to schedule rides with their “favorite drivers” and gives drivers more information upfront about each trip before accepting.
With the new feature, drivers who set lower prices for a ride would inevitably get customers first, while drivers with higher prices will be matched with riders during periods of high demand. Currently, only drivers making trips to and from the Santa Barbara, Palm Springs, and Sacramento airports have access to this feature. If the trial goes well, there is potential for the feature to expand to lager cities like Los Angeles and San Fransisco.
Uber plans to continue classifying its drivers as independent contractors, even though California recently enacted a law that takes issue with this approach. In order to keep its independent contractor argument as intact as possible and to save millions of dollars by not providing benefits to its drivers, Uber is continuously adding features in the state that give its drivers more independence, including the ability to set their own ride prices.