Uber drivers have slammed the company’s small increase to fares aimed at appeasing them as a “slap in the face”
As revealed earlier this week, Uber has informed drivers that it will be increasing minimum fares by just over 15 percent in most major Australian cities, and introducing a 55 cent booking fee for all rides.
In Sydney, the minimum fare will increase from $8 to $9, in Melbourne and Brisbane it’ll go from $6 to $7.50 and in Canberra the fare will jump from $6 to $8.
An Uber spokesperson says the minimum fare hike came after consultations with its drivers.
“Following recent roundtable listening discussions with driver-partners, we heard that an important improvement Uber could make to the driving experience would be increasing the minimum fare,” the spokesperson says.
But Australian Uber drivers union Rideshare Drivers United have labelled the increase as “miniscule”.
“Minimum fare trips make a very small percentage of trips in most cases,” the group said in a statement.
“This very small minimum fare increase is not really going to make much of a difference to drivers’ bottom line. Most drivers we talked to view this latest Uber increase as an insult and a slap in the face.”
From 9 June, Uber users in Australia will also pay an extra 55 cents on all trips to “assist with the operational costs associated with providing a ridesharing service”. This extra charge will be passed back to Uber, with drivers keeping 5 cents to pay to the ATO as GST.
Uber drivers around the country have criticised the US-based tech giant for the percentage of each fare that it takes, which ranges from 20 to 25 percent. Rideshare Drivers United have claimed that most Uber drivers are earning below the minimum wage, and recently wrote to the Commonwealth Ombudsman calling for an inquiry into the company’s pay rates.
It has been a tumultuous year for Uber, with the company losing a legal fight in Australia meaning its drivers have to pay GST, several reports exposing the company’s fraught internal culture, leading its president to quit after only seven months and revelations that its CEO Travis Kalanick’s risk-taking attitude is putting the company in danger.