Did Uber Rides Actually Get Cheaper?

Uber has been in the news a lot lately for lowering their prices across many U.S. and Canadian cities. Last week our team at TaxiFareFinder did a little bit of research on Uber’s supposed “lower prices” and came to a major conclusion.

While Uber did indeed lower standard mileage prices in over 100 cities, they also raised their minimum fares and recently increased the price of their safe rides fees. This means that in some situations, passengers will actually end up paying more than before Uber lowered their fares! Let’s take a look at some numbers below.

First, Uber decided to raise their Safe Rides Fee this past fall. According to Business Insider, this fee was first introduced in April 2014, as a way for Uber to recoup the costs of running its background checks and providing 24/7 support to its riders. The Safe Rides Fee used to be only $1 regardless of where you hailed an Uber, but now Uber is calculating this fee based on your zip code. Apparently, Uber believes the price of “safety” is different depending on where you live. Is Uber really trying to make some kind of statement about each city’s relative risks and the costs of finding drivers who have no criminal charges and a safe driving record?

Surprisingly (or perhaps not), Uber didn’t just slightly raise Safe Rides Fees, in fact some cities had their Safe Rides Fee more than doubled! Passengers from Inland Empire in California and Northwest Indiana are now paying $2.45 and $2.50 respectively. Many other cities such as, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Ventura, Knoxville, Fort Myers, Naples, Indianapolis, and Jacksonville are also all above the $2.00 mark. Remarkably, Uber users in New York City are still able to hail their Uber car without paying any fee! That’s right the Safe Rides Fee is free in NYC and Halifax, Canada.

After Uber raised Safe Rides Fees, they then decided to increase minimum fares as well. The minimum fare is the least amount a passenger can pay for an Uber ride. In other words, if a passenger takes an Uber around the block, they will still get charged as though they took the car 4 blocks in an effort to reimburse drivers for short trips. While this raise on the minimum fare is great for drivers, it may come as a shock to some passengers who usually use Uber for short rides, especially when passengers will be expecting a lower fare due to Uber’s price cuts. Instead passengers who now take Uber on short routes will actually end up paying more than before Uber lowered their fares, plus, they will be paying a higher Safe Rides Fee as well!

The moral of the story is passengers who are planning on using Uber for short rides, shouldn’t expect their fares to have decreased as it has been projected across the media. In fact, they should expect to pay a little more than before!