Uber Technologies Inc. (NYSE:UBER) is piloting a new feature in California, which will give drivers the ability to determine their fares. This is one of the latest moves by the company to ensure drivers are given more autonomy in the wake of the recently introduced gig-economy law in the state.
Uber piloting feature at the three California airports
The company is piloting the feature at Sacramento, Santa Barbara, and Palm Springs airports. As a result, drivers will set a fare based on the taxi-hailing company’s base, time, and distance for UberXL and UberX trips. The company has indicated that passengers will be paired with those drivers offering the lowest rates.
According to the company, those drivers who may want to earn more will have to wait longer for rides. The app will be showing them how long they might wait before they pick a rider. The drive will then adjust the fare based on how long s/he wishes to wait. The company stated that this new feature is a way of preserving flexible work for the thousands of drivers in the state. However, this is an initial test, and Uber plans to make more changes to enhance the control; of the driver over their pay.
Uber maintains that it is not a transportation company
The taxi-hailing giant has been making several changes in response to the AB5 law that requires companies to classify workers as employees instead of independent contractors. These apply for all workers controlled by the employer and are part of the core business of the company. However, Uber maintains that it is a technology platform linking drivers with the riders and not a transportation company, and drivers are not part of the company’s core business.
Uber has been making changes to how their drivers operate in California as a way of strengthening their argument against the case they have filed challenging AB5 statute. At the beginning of this month, the company capped its commission on rides in the state has allowed drivers in California to see where the rider is going last month.