Uber increases London fares for first time since 2017

·3-min read
The taxi hailing app has come under fire recently its price surges and reduced  availability   (AP)
The taxi hailing app has come under fire recently its price surges and reduced availability (AP)

Uber has announced that it will raise London prices today in an attempt to attack drivers back to the platform and tackle long waiting times.

The taxi-hailing app will increase the base fare for journeys from £2.50 to £2.75, while per-minute and per-mile rates will also rise by 10 per cent.

Uber price surges over the Halloween weekend saw some Londoners stranded after nights out due to “ridiculous” prices and recurring cancellations.

The minimum charge for rides on the app will increase from £5 to £5.50 while passengers travelling to London airports at peak times will also face an extra 15 cent charge increasing the journeys by 25 per cent.

The latest price increase has sent Londoners into an uproar around transport costs in the capital. One Londoner wrote on Twitter: “What a time to raise taxi prices, when women are arguably feeling at their most vulnerable.”

Another added: “The fact that the cab/taxi market in London is a whole madness, coupled with sporadic night buses, no full night tube service and ULEZ/congestion charge... this city is really trying to become unliveable.”

A third said: “I don’t know about everyone else but Uber has been moving mad lately! Waiting 10mins+ for a cab just for it cancel AGAIN... and now you wanna raise your prices.”

While passenger numbers have increased significantly since the last lockdown - as much as 20 per cent higher- the number of drivers has fallen. Thousands of drivers switched to working in food delivery at the height of the pandemic when lockdown forced Londoners into their homes. Since then many of the taxi drivers have remained in the delivery sector and have not returned to the platform resulting in increased waiting times.

A shortage of drivers led to an increase in “surge pricing,” where a journey that would usually cost £10 suddenly costs 1.8x that amount, for example. “Multi-apping” has also been an issue where drivers will cancel a booking to take a better paid one on a different app such as Bolt or Ola. This is the first time Uber has increased its prices since 2017.

Uber hopes higher fees for cab drivers will lure them back to the platform. It has already announced plans to attract around 20,000 more drivers to meet passenger demand smoothly and bring down surge pricing.

The taxi-hailing app has not increased its prices since 2017. Last year it changed the way it displayed fares, switching from a pre-departure estimate to upfront, fixed pricing.

An Uber spokesperson said: “We’re making these changes to help provide a better rider experience, by signing up more drivers to meet the growing demand. We know people rely on Uber to book a safe trip around London and this small fare increase will help reduce wait times. As always riders will get a fare estimate before booking their journey.”

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