UberX adds $1 ‘Safe Rides Fee’ for passengers, reinstates 20% commission fee for drivers

uberxUberX customers, take note: Your rides are about to cost a little more.

In an email sent to UberX Seattle drivers, the company notes a new “Safe Rides Fee,” that takes effect today.

“Starting today, we’ll showcase our continued commitment to safety with a dedicated $1 Safe Rides Fee, paid for by riders,” the letter reads.

Uber said that the new fee, which applies nationwide, will support the company’s costs related to “background checks, ongoing safety monitoring, education, insurance and safety features.” This new fee is for UberX — which lets everyday drivers shuttle people around town — and not for the more expensive UberBLACK service, which uses professional chauffeurs.

Uber is also reinstating the 20 percent commission it takes from UberX drivers per ride. It was only taking five percent from drivers for the past few months in several cities nationwide while it also dropped prices for passengers. But Uber was losing money on each trip, so now, the company will again take 20 percent from drivers starting on April 23.

“The good news is that partners have been doing so many trips per hour at the new prices that even after this change, partners will be making more earnings than even during the December peak,” the email notes. “This level of earnings on uberX will continue to be the highest in the industry.”

To “ease the transition,” Uber will be giving $1 to drivers for every trip they complete until August 31. Here’s how the new pricing breakdown looks — notice that Uber does not include the $1 “Safe Rides Fee” into the driver’s earnings.

uberxsaferidesfee

UberX currently charges $1.63 per mile and $0.30 per minute in Seattle, along with a $2.14 base fare and a $6 minimum fee. It reduced its prices by up to 34 percent in 16 cities back in January. 

Earlier this month, Lyft — Uber’s biggest competitor — announced it would decrease rates for passengers by up to 20 percent in each of its 30 cities and temporarily stop taking a 20 percent commission from drivers as the company tests out the lower rates for riders. It’s worth noting that Lyft also has a similar $1 fee for “Trust & Safety.”

Both companies are set to be regulated in Seattle after the City Council voted last month to cap the number of vehicles that services like UberX and Lyft can have on the road to 150 — a limit that Uber, along with Lyft, has expressed disappointment with. But those regulations could be suspended and put up for a city-wide vote if a coalition group can collect enough petition signatures by April 18.

Update, April 18: Uber penned this blog post about the new $1 fee. Here’s what it says:

From the beginning, we’ve always been committed to connecting you with the safest rides on the road. Starting this week, we’ll demonstrate that continued commitment to safety with a dedicated $1 Safe Rides Fee added to uberX fares in United States cities with uberX ridesharing. For complete pricing transparency, you’ll see this as a separate line item on every uberX receipt.

This fee supports the increased costs associated with our continued efforts to ensure the safest platform for Uber riders and drivers. Those include an industry-leading background check process, regular motor vehicle checks, driver safety education, current and future development of safety features in the app, and insurance.

The whole Uber team is committed to continue innovating, refining, and working diligently to ensure Uber is always the safest experience on the road. If you have feedback, questions, or concerns, please let us know at saferides@uber.com.

  • Consumer

    The fact that there is competition for the consumer is horrible!! Please, Seattle City Counsel, step in and stop this immediately. Also, while you’re at it, could you randomly raise the minimum wage by 60%?

    Thanks!

  • John Kane

    Uber is starting to slowly ratchet up the fees. This is how the capitalist system works. Welcome to the world of cab driving.

  • Uberslave

    Uber is playing a hypocrite game using words , like community , sharing , apportunity , all that it’s just a game to win the consumer side , but really we are the once who (drivers )should get credit for the good work .most of us been is transportation industry before uber excited .they cheated all of us , cause at first uber was begging us to work for them and then soon they got popular and got all the funding , we become slaves they don’t even answer email for urgent things . Now it’s like you either work for them or nothing , very unfair competition . They killed the prices!!! They have the monopoly . The power of money .
    Uber always say the drivers are making money !!! Not
    truth at all , I’ll give you a simple calculation
    To make $100000 gross a year with uber you have to work like a slave !!! 12 to 14 hours shift
    So if you make $100000 gross
    Uber commission it’s %20 so you have $80000 left , plus if you driver that long you need at least $50 gas so $50 day that’s $300 a week .to rich the gross number you have to work 6 days
    So what we have $20,000 a year uber commission , $18,000 gas
    So far we have $62,000 left from the gross total you have to work for at least 70 hours a week !!!
    And to to make $100,000 gross .you have to do at least 10 airports rides a week , and the fee for each airport is $3.65 do $36.50 a week for a year it’s $1800 right
    So the total now it’s $60,200
    And you have bridge toll at least $1000 a year
    So now we have $59.200 left
    Also commercial insurance , at least $4000 a year
    So $55,200 left
    To make $100,000 gross you will put at least 30,000 mils a year so just oil change that’s 100 times every 3000 mils so at least $2500 just for oil change
    So now we have $52,700 left
    And of course you have to take your clothes to the dry cleaner , buy suits , go to the car wash and if you driver 30,000 miles a year , you need general maintains for the car , also you have to pay cpuc fees , city fees , parking if you leave in the city , buy water for the customer , pay taxes
    All that I’ll take easy and put the total of $20,000
    So now you have $ 32,700 left from the gross total
    You work 70 hours / week
    So 9744 hours a year and you make $32,700
    So really we are making $ 3.35 hour
    NOT EVEN minimum wage !!!!

    That’s how uber become a 4 billion $ company in 4 year
    Cause they don’t pay for nothing , it’s all profit !!!
    They saved all that just with changing one word , instead driver they use PARTNER
    And all the cars the drivers bought it’s a free capital !!!!
    So every driver is a part of uber and he should get a percentage …..that’s where the government should get involve …..it’s a million times unfair !!!!!

    I really wish all the uber customers read this to really know the slavery of uber and what’s behind all the comments they make saying they want to make sure all the drivers are offering a good service !!!!! It’s all a lie people ….their are the biggest mafia of the 21 century

  • Guest

    Antidotally, I took an UberX ride last night and incurred the $1 fee. It was a pretty safe ride, though.

    All in all, I think this will be a good thing in the long term. UberX is still significantly cheaper and more convenient than taxis are, particularly for those who prefer to pay with plastic, passing on paper.

  • http://Facebook.com/justus.aguy Just Aguy

    Heads up to all UberX drivers…$10/Wk UberPhone charge is heading your way pretty soon! UberBLACK drivers have been paying this since Fall ’13, and UberTaxi drivers since Jan ’14.

  • uberx driver

    I’m Uberx driver from LA since august 2013. I understand that for riders P2P service is perfect, cheap for sure. But for drivers it is not that good. Especially fo those who left other jobs related with transportation. Uber require all drivers to be pollite, have water and hace cars clean. Also, gas is getting expensive. Plus drivers should carry full coverage insurance, you are driving whole day, never know what’s gonna happen. If everything is getting expensive, why drivers salaries goes down? Let me tell you something else. When passengers ask me, if I like this job, I say “Yes” even if I realize I make about 10-12$ per hour (minus their commision and taxes) working 10 to 12 hours as a driver. I have a friend, who always tell truth to riders about how low is his salary, when you start calculating all expenses, he just have no choice. He also says, that it will be better if Uberx riders will have tip choice on app. He was fired next week. Some of customers reported his suggestions about “tip choice”. So, don’t be surprise if drivers say that they like Uberx, they just don’t want to complain and be fired. In Los Angeles rates are 1.25 per mile. The best way to make them think about drivers is to make driver’s community through twitter or anonymous websites.

    • http://www.AdamLasnik.net/ ThatAdamGuy

      If that guy complainted about his lot and solicited tips, then I think it’s proper that he was dismissed from Uber.

      Many of us customers LOVE that tipping is not permitted with Uber. Tipping is an annoying, evil, discriminatory practice that has no place in a modern society. People should be paid a reasonable, fair wage and should get raises according to their contributions. Customers should not have to awkwardly fumble for change, wonder if someone is making a living wage (e.g., waiters), worry about underpaying or overpaying, etc.

      And the great thing about Uber for drivers is that it’s non-exclusive. As I understand it, not only can the drivers leave Uber any moment they like, but they can even work for Uber AND another company at the same time. No lock in, no huge up-front costs. It’s the quintessential great example of mobility, no pun intended: if Uber stops paying a competitive wage, they’ll quickly get punished by drivers going elsewhere (to Lyft, to Sidecar, etc.)

      So frankly, I have little sympathy for drivers who are upset about Uber, and as a user, I am a big Uber fan.

      • Gabriel

        Why is America becoming so cheep are we slowly turning into a third world country! I have been in the transportation business Now for ten years I have worked in the transportation industry for Limo, shuttle to hospital courier and also working with Uber and thank God I am not fully dependent on Uber. I agree with you in term of Tipping and I am not a big fan of tips, however, if we choose NOT to tips so much like the Australians or the English then let us pay people decent wages so that workers are not compensated by tipping. waiters at restaurants, hotel bellman…etc are all paid low wages because here in America people are expected to tip them and the same works for the transportation business such as Taxis and Limo. Hence if we choose to not to tip then pay people accordingly like they do in other first world nations. When UberX started in LA it used to be $2.5/mile then Uber sent an email telling driver that Uber will reduce the fare to (I think) $2/mile for about a week or two. Then Uber sent an email stating that the fare will remain for a longer period, then Uberx in LA reduced it to 1.6 plus .35 cent claiming its equal to the 2/mile, then uber reduced the fare to 1.25 but then told driver not to worry because uber will only take 5% and now uber has raised its intake to 20% without equally adjusting the rate and gas has gone up so good luck Uberx drivers. Are we in a race to be the cheapest nation. Your income goes down but Gas, Rent, and Taxes go UP and now we also pay for Health Care unlike Canada…ha..whats going on. Moreover, Uber keeps on lying in its adds on facebook and other places claiming that you will make $20/hr, $40/hr, and I haven even seen $60/hr not factoring all other expenses such as Gas that drivers will pay and even then driver are making Minimum wages. However, driver can push themselves to work 12hrs and beyond to make more money! I just wish if 20/20 makes a documentary on this and about other corporate greed in America….People wake Up and don’t just be passive its our country we need to do things the right way and treat people like we like to be treated.

        • http://www.AdamLasnik.net/ ThatAdamGuy

          It IS disgusting that people aren’t paid a living wage in many industries, and equally obnoxious that customers are required to provide an “optional” tip to make up the difference.

          And if Uber really has been misleading its drivers, then that’s really reprehensible, too :.

          Also, upon further reflection, I agree with others here that a separate line item for “safe rides” is pretty stupid. If someone refuses to pay that, will they have an unsafe ride? It’s like the ridiculousness of “fuel surcharges” with the airlines; isn’t this just a very, very fundamental aspect of the service? What next, a “Silverware Fee” for restaurants? (“Our cost of purchasing and washing silverware has gone up, and to continue providing quality cutlery to our customers, we’re adding a $1 Silverware Fee”)

      • Tyler

        I am not the kind of guy to chime in on the net. I drive for UberX to subsidize a small business I recently started. I love the extra money I make and the people I meet. I have always hated taxis for their insane fares to drive from point A to point B. I have always thought – I would do this so much cheaper. All UberX is really doing is bringing about the true market price of a ride from point A to point B. Wait until there is a driver like me on every block who is passively waiting for a fare or two to make an extra $30 a day. It’s going to happen, taxis are a thing of the past.

  • PartTimePartner

    The temporary $1 to help ‘ease the transition’ may work for short trips but the reduction in Partner Earnings for the longer airport trips by the jump to 20% commission is a bit much. The amount deducted from Partner Earnings should be;

    (Credit Card Fee) * (Total Fare) + (Flat Uber Commission)

  • SS

    I’ve been using Uber since they only had one car option and had barely just begun taking over SF let alone the country. And for many years I enjoyed it up until now. It’s really pathetic that they have to charge people to improve the safety of the rider. What’s even sadder is they assume only UberX is to blame- I’ve heard many stories of women feeling very uncomfortable by drivers actions in black cars too. We shouldn’t have to pay for peace of mind and safety. What’s next, we’re charged for drinking the water they provide? The nickle and diming is only a sign of what’s to come…

  • http://blog.findwell.com Kevin Lisota

    I think someone in Uber PR needs a reality check here. They claim that for “complete pricing transparency” they need to line item a separate fee for “background check process, regular motor vehicle checks, driver safety education, development of safety features in the app, and insurance”. You might as well line item everything else critical to a taxi ride as well. How about a “make it go” fee to cover things like gasoline and the car. Perhaps a “human operator fee” as well that covers the right hand, left hand, right foot and eyes needed to properly operate the vehicle as well.

    They are a business and can pass along whatever costs they like to consumers, but this seems like a blatant publicity stunt to accomplish two things. Raise revenue & try to give a negative connotation to the regulatory requirements now being imposed on them. “We’re so sorry but all of these pesky regulations like background checks and insurance are going to make our fees go up. It’s not our fault, so we’ll make you aware of these unfair fees separately.” The only thing transparent about this fee is the veiled PR message embedded within.

  • John Davis

    Youve got to admit that is like totally cool.
    Anon-VPN dot Com

  • Seattle_Native

    I’m just livid with the fact that they are charging the $1 to UberX riders, but not to the other riders. I guess they spend enough that they don’t want to bleed them dry..

    We’ve been calling it The Poor Tax in Seattle.

    I would only hope that all the $1 safe ride fees, are going toward the UberX drivers only, right? Because if the UberX riders are forced to front the bill for it, they should be the only ones to receive the added benefits of safer rides based on this price. IMO

    • Alfred Marchal

      Keep hoping. I’ve driven for UberX for a few weeks now and all the negative things that my fellow drivers are saying are true. We don’t see a dime of that extra fee. What’s more is that they mistakenly added it to our total fares on our online dashboard so when it came time to pay out I thought they had made an accounting error. When I wrote them I received a canned response (I’m sure it’s the same as the other drivers who wrote them about this same issue). Oh, and of course if you ask an UberX driver during the ride if they like the company, what do you expect them to say? “Oh, I think they are a bunch of crooks! Please be sure to tell them what I said so they’ll revoke my active status.”

      Bottom line is that with gas, wear and tear, commission taken, etc., it comes out to less than minimum wage.

      I would advise anyone who is thinking about driving to approach it as a temporary financial fix until you find another source of income.

  • Tim Toller

    We should have to pay an explicit fee for a safe ride? Please. Safety should be endemic to Uber’s business model. Uber needs to understand its real costs and price UberX accordingly. If they think telling customers that they need to pay an explicit safety fee for activities (like background checks) improves their public image, then Uber needs a new PR team.

  • Lindzee McCain

    Interesting, especially in the wake of the story about the Lyft accident and how great the support was. I know firsthand how Uber responds to this type of thing — last summer, my UberX driver caused an accident after some really erratic driving (he crossed 3-4 lanes of traffic so quickly that his car was perpendicular to oncoming traffic, then called to renew his insurance as I sat in the backseat). They responded to my tweet, asked me to email, then literally never responded.

    It’s great that they’re putting a higher emphasis on safe driving, but IMO, it’s a little late to be putting a tax on something that should just be good business.

  • Mark

    This is just silly, and poor driver, I think are or will be in shock especially those who have purchased new vehicles thinking of a bright happy Uber profitable business. I should admit that I like the cheap Uberx ride, However, I have always gave fews tips just so that I wouldn’t feel guilty. A happy worker is more likely to provide a better service and I doubt Uber driver are that happy now which will translate to a less friendly customer service in the long run. whomever is in charge of Uber strategic Management isn’t wise enough

  • Stuart Shook

    wrong. Uberx now takes 25% of the “fare” shown in the driver dashboard.

    by the end of summer Uber will be taking 25% + $1.00 per ride driven.

    or about 30%

    and if 97% of riders don’t give the driver 5 stars the driver rating will fall below 4.7 and the driver will be “fired” by being dis-connected from the system.

    F%&*#D up!

    • http://www.exposingmilabs.blogspot.com/ Exposing Milabs

      The rating system is fatally flawed, I agree. All it takes is a couple of 4 stars (still excellent). Some people just don’t give 5 stars,, I’m not sure why, unless its more of an Uber Lux experience they expect for giving a 5. Uberx is not that. Yet I still offer all my riders bottled water and candies. Getting out to open the door is generally not safe or practical downtown.

  • http://www.exposingmilabs.blogspot.com/ Exposing Milabs

    +Uberslave – I love driving for Uber! The benefits for me outweigh any risks or financial costs like gas and insurance. It’s a lot like being a food server but without the food, It’s a hospitality service is how I see it in Nashville anyway. My car is very fuel efficient so my gas cost ratio is nothing near what yours seem to be. I recommend a Hybrid!
    Uber gives you absolute control on when and where you drive,,and like with any similar hard working position, sometimes you have to put in a full 12 hour day to make what you want to make. I just pulled 4 12 hr shifts but now I’m going to be off to rest 3 days. Many professions work long hours. You’re the one defining your own perceived slavery. Think positive and draw that to you. Best Wishes

  • http://www.exposingmilabs.blogspot.com/ Exposing Milabs

    Free enterprise!