Uber rolls back price reductions

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Remember in April when Uber announced it was reducing prices in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria for its UberX service to boost demand, keep drivers busier and increase their earnings? Well, it turns out the experiment hasn’t worked. As a result, original fares will be reinstated from 10am this morning. While this isn’t the best news for riders, it’s good news for drivers, and it’s hard not to give Uber credit for being willing to backtrack on the change having found it hasn’t turned out as expected.

“Earlier this year we lowered prices on UberX in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban to encourage more riders to use Uber and increase driver-partner earnings,” the company says in a statement released on Monday morning.

“Because Uber only works when it’s working well for both riders and driver-partners, we put payment guarantees in place to ensure that driver-partner earnings would not be impacted by this experiment. We promised that if reduced fares didn’t make sense for driver-partners in the long term, we would go back to our original fares. Today we are keeping that promise and from 10am, 6 June, original fares will resume.”

Last month the company announced it would begin letting riders pay with cash, and that remains unchanged despite the return to original pricing. When it first announced the priced reductions the company also hinted it’s considering offering UberPool in South Africa. Let’s hope this failed experiment doesn’t put it off giving that a go.

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