On Friday afternoon, Uber posted an article on their blog and let some media outlets know that they would be cutting rates in 100 cities in the US and Canada. In true Uber fashion, they made the announcement after business hours on a Friday and didn’t even e-mail drivers about it.
December and January are typically slow months for rideshare drivers, and Uber has actually pulled this stunt three years in a row now. In fact, they wrote an identical blog post last year, that even had the same title and was released on the same day they announced massive fare cuts in 48 cities.
You can read today’s (2016) Uber’s announcement here, but the gist of it is that Uber will be cutting fares in order to increase passenger demand and then drivers will make more money. Unfortunately, we’ve been through this before, and that is a total lie. When rates go down, it may increase passenger demand but drivers most definitely make less. And if they’re doing more trips per hour, their expenses are also higher.
There Will Be Fare Guarantees Though
Uber did say that there will be fare guarantees, but if history tells us anything, they will only be available for a few months. Last year’s guarantees actually worked out pretty well for a lot of RSG readers since we revealed how you could hack Uber’s guarantees, but they’ve closed a lot of the loopholes in the program since.
I’ll be curious to see what Uber offers in the way of guarantees, but I’m not expecting much.
Which Cities Got Cut?
We haven’t found a full list of affected cities yet, but according to Bloomberg, Uber will cut prices in Los Angeles and San Francisco by 10 percent, Houston by 20 percent, and Richmond, Virginia, by 15 percent. Prices in some cities, including New York and Chicago, will remain unchanged for now.
There were a lot of reports on social media today that fare cuts were coming, but we didn’t post anything about it until it was confirmed by Uber. Some drivers even reported getting a call from their local Uber office notifying them of the fare cuts. Others figured it out when they got an e-mail like this to their passenger account.
Honestly, I find it pretty insulting that Uber announces this stuff on a Friday after work hours and doesn’t even e-mail its drivers about it. Drivers like you and I have to find out from people in the media or even passengers. It’s probably a safe bet that a lot of drivers will be working for Lyft this weekend.
Update (1/9/16): Uber has finally started sending e-mails to some drivers in affected cities. Here’s what the new rates will look in a few cities. You can find a full list of new rates here. Also note that in some cities, UberXL and Pool rates have also changed. If your city isn’t listed yet, please e-mail me and I’ll update my spreadsheet.
Drivers, were you in one of the affected cities? What do you think about Uber’s latest fare cuts and what it means for driver’s earnings?
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-Harry @ RSG