Uber launches up-front fares for UberX

A pilot program in select cities, including New York, will see the rideshare giant offering fixed fees for UberX trips.

Uber is phasing out its complicated fare screens.

Over the next couple of weeks, the rideshare giant will roll out fixed, up-front fares for all UberX trips in New York City as part of a pilot in select cities.

Surge pricing is not going away, to be clear. But instead of being offered a “minimum fare” accompanied by a cost multiplier to indicate the price surge, riders will be presented with a binding price that already bakes in the surge right on the screen – exactly the way the company now operates uberPOOL trips.

“We moved to upfront, per trip fares – just like airlines and hotels – two years ago when we launched uberPOOL,” wrote the company in a blog post published Thursday. “Riders needed to enter their destinations so we could match them with other people headed the same way. This allowed us to calculate the actual fare in advance and show it to riders before they booked their ride.”

Uber begun slowly incorporating upfront UberX fares in New York City as well as Miami, San Diego, Philadelphia, Seattle and New Jersey this April, but it would not disclose how many riders currently are offered the feature. The company’s goal is expand upfront fares across all its cities and all its products over the next couple of months.

The move is in response to the popularity of uberPOOL, which accounts for 20% of all of the Uber’s trips, according to the company. When POOL launched in San Fransisco in 2014, Uber rolled out upfront fares as a way to clearly highlight how much cheaper the option was than UberX. Riders appreciated the directness, according to Uber, and the company decided to phase out the cost multiplier and do the math itself.

Drivers’ pay will not be impacted. If a trip takes longer than originally quoted, an Uber driver will be paid accordingly. For instance, if there is an unexpected traffic jam due to a crash and the trip takes longer than expected, the rider’s rate won’t change. But Uber will pay the driver for the additional time.

Vincent Barone