Car-on-demand service Uber is finally responding to the substantial increase in fuel prices South Africans — particularly those in-land — have faced in recent months. In an email to customers on Tuesday the company says that as of 31 July 2018, “the minimum fare for your UberX rides will be increased from R20 to R25. The previous minimum fare of R20 will still apply to all trips starting in Soweto”. The Port Elizabeth uberGO minimum fare has also been increased from R17 to R20.
The company argues that even with the 25% increase to the minimum fare is “small” and that the service “remains one of the most affordable and efficient ways to get around”. Arguably, it wouldn’t be unreasonable for fares to climb across the board, particularly as drivers who drive cars they don’t own often bear the brunt of fuel-price increases because the owners of their vehicles still expect the same revenue each week, meaning drivers have to work for longer before they earn money of their own.
Uber says it’s also rolling out a pilot project that will see a ‘tiered service fee’ apply to those drivers with high ratings. The higher their rating on the service, the lower the weekly Uber service fee they’ll pay. Whether or not owners who don’t drive themselves will pass this saving onto their drivers remains to be seen… but we wouldn’t be on it.
In addition to this measure to increase driver’s earnings, Uber says its “driver-partners throughout Johannesburg are also benefiting from hourly guarantees and fuel incentives that were introduced as a means of protecting driver-partner earnings during periods of lower demand”.