Uber Removes Fare Rates From Its Website and App
I have been tracking fare rates for both Lyft and Uber for the past two years now. I have been collecting them on a weekly basis and tracked when Uber has cut its fares. I noticed something a few weeks ago where I was able to download the fares, but weren’t able to see it on the website with my web browser. I thought it was a bit strange and thought it was just a glitch with Uber’s website.
Fast forward to the following week, and none of the fare data was showing up on my html files either. I went to their website and saw that there is no longer any fare data for any of the cities.
I also checked the passenger application. They removed the fare breakdown in 8 cities on the passenger application:
- San Diego
- Washington DC
In these 8 cities, you used to be able to click on UberX icon and it will show you the fare details, like price per mile, price per minute, base fare, and cancellation fee. Now, that part is completely blank. Now you have to put in your destination and it shows you the trip price before you request a ride.
It seems that you can still see the fare breakdown for UberXL, UberSelect, UberBlack and SUV in every city. I am not sure if this is temporary or permanent. In Philadelphia, they had removed the prices for Black and SUV for a long time now and for a long time, fare breakdown for UberX and XL wasn’t available in Philadelphia either.
Why did Uber Remove the Fare Data?
For one, I think they were sick and tired of bloggers like myself tracking what changes they were doing on a weekly basis across all of their markets. The changes in fares across their markets may show to their competitors how their demand looks like and how competitive they are in certain markets. It also shows what type of prices work for that market, so another competitor could follow their pricing. If those companies tried hard enough, they can still get the information, but not as easily as before.
Also, Uber seems to be shifting from listing fare prices in each city to showing passengers what their fare may cost. This was the huge difference between Uber/Lyft and Sidecar. Sidecar was the only rideshare application that forced passengers to enter in a destination and they would see the estimated price before requesting a ride. This told passengers what the trip was going to cost before they requested and this was one of the biggest complaints about Uber. When you request an Uber or Lyft, you don’t know how much the ride would be unless you either calculated it by hand before you requested the trip, or have been on a similar ride before. The one downside for passengers is that you may know what the ride will cost, but you won’t know how much it normally costs. You don’t know if the cost of the trip increased due to traffic (unavoidable) or due to surge pricing (avoidable).
The prices are now shown on the bottom of the passenger application. On UberX, it will have a direct comparison with UberPool. Clearly, this is to motivate more passengers to use UberPool by showing them how much money they can save. Many people believe that UberPool benefits mainly Uber by being able to service more passengers with the same number of drivers. Other drivers have shown that drivers don’t make more money from UberPool. It is also interesting that it is only UberX that doesn’t have the fare breakdown on the passenger application. The fare breakdown is still available for the other services.
This change clearly benefits passengers more than drivers. When drivers accept a request, we won’t know where they are going, so there is no way for us to know the price of the entire trip. Without also knowing the fare rates in your own city, it is hard to know how much money we are making. Arguably, knowing the fare prices won’t exactly tell you how much you’ll earn, but if the fare prices drop, it will correlate to a drop in earnings.
How Does It Affect Drivers?
It negatively affects drivers. Now they have less information about their income potential via the fare rates. Now drivers will have to calculate the fare rates based on the trip details and final price of the trip. You can do that by going into your driver dashboard and looking up the distance and time for your trip, along with the total cost of the trip.
The one place you may still be able to find the fare prices is in the Uber details buried in the driver application. You can access it via the menu on the top right hand side of the driver application when you are online.
Because of Uber’s recent legal battles, they have been notifying drivers about any type of fare changes going on via an amendment to the driver agreement. If there is an update, drivers will need to agree to the amendment before signing onto the platform. If you encounter an amendment in the driver agreement, open it and take a look. The new agreement often has the before and after prices so you can see for yourself what the changes are. You can decide then if you want to continue to drive on Uber or not.Have more questions about Uber or Lyft? Head on over to our Rideshare Driver Training Course!