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Uber hikes prices in bid to lure back drivers

Written by: Emma Lunn
Uber is increasing prices by 10% in London and by 25% for peak time airport trips in an attempt to attract more drivers.

The price hikes will take effect from today and affect trips within Greater London. Uber’s minimum fare in the capital will also rise from £5 to £5.50.

Uber drivers were told the news yesterday. They were also reportedly told that peak time fares to and from Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton and Stansted airports could go up by 25%. This includes the 10% London price hike plus a further 15% at peak times.

Many Uber drivers quit during the Covid pandemic when lockdown rules caused jobs to dry up. Others signed up for other gig economy jobs such as deliveries, rather than working full-time for Uber.

However, demand for taxis has grown in recent months after coronavirus restrictions were eased. Customers using the ride-hailing app have complained of longer wait times and more cancellations from drivers in recent weeks, as well as more ‘surge pricing’ as trip requests exceed the numbers of cars available.

Uber said the rise was the first in its base rates since 2017 and, if more drivers joined the platform, would help avoid the fluctuations caused by frequent surge pricing.

Uber said demand for its services was up 20% in London, by 24% in Birmingham and 40% in Nottingham.

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.”

Earlier this year Uber was forced to treat its drivers as employees, rather than contractors, and offer employment rights such as paid holiday and pensions.

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