Is Uber Charging Riders More & Paying Drivers Less?

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In recent months, Uber switched their method for pricing rides.

In the past, riders would receive a price estimate for a ride.  But the fare you paid at the end was determined based on the exact time and mileage of your ride.  And the Uber driver would receive a percentage of this final fare.

Now, instead of an estimate, Uber provides a guaranteed price for your ride upfront.  But The Ride Share Guy notes this new method might be causing discrepancies for both riders and drivers.

Uber Fare Discrepancies

Uber’s Switch to an Upfront Pricing Model Might Be Causing Payout Discrepancies for Drivers

I’ll explain what’s going on with Uber’s upfront fares.

What’s the Deal With Uber Upfront Fares?

In the US and India, Uber now provides riders with a guaranteed price before requesting a ride.

For example, I searched a sample UberX fare from Central Park to the Park Hyatt New York.  Before requesting the ride, Uber guarantees the fare will be $10.52.

Uber Fare Discrepancies

Uber Provides a Guaranteed Fare Before Requesting a Ride

The guaranteed Uber fare is the sum of these amounts:

  • Base fare
  • Estimated per minute charge
  • Estimated per mile charge
  • Tolls (if applicable)

The per minute and mile estimates can vary depending if Uber is in strong demand in a certain area.

With this pricing model, Uber is essentially guessing at the time and distance for your ride.  If your driver makes a wrong turn or there’s heavy traffic, your fare will NOT increase.

But it’s possible your ride can take less time than Uber estimated.  Or your driver might find a quicker route.  In this case, your fare will NOT decrease.

In the end, you’ll simply pay the guaranteed fare you saw before requesting the ride, regardless of the actual time and mileage.  Of course, this assumes you only travel between the origin and requested destination.

Personally, I like this method.  Because the upfront price gives you the choice to explore alternatives, like a taxi, before requesting an Uber ride.

Potential Rider & Driver Discrepancies With Upfront Fares

The issue with the new fare method is the difference between what the rider is charged and the payout the driver receives.

Based on examples from The Ride Share Guy, it appears Uber is charging riders based on the guaranteed fare.  But then Uber pays the driver based on the actual time and distance for the ride.

For example, UberX drivers in San Francisco receive 80% of the the total fare minus a $1.55 booking fee.

So if Uber calculates a total driver fare of $10 based on the time and distance of a ride, a driver would receive a payout of ~$6.45 (80% of ($10 – $1.55 booking fee)).

But what if the rider paid more than $10 based on the upfront guaranteed fare?  Can Uber use 2 different fare calculations for riders and drivers?

I looked at the Uber driver website, which appears to have contradictory information.

For example, one page says the fare shown in the Uber driver’s app is the amount charged to the rider.

Uber Fare Discrepancies

One Page on the Uber Website Says the Fare in the Driver App Is the Amount Charged to the Rider

But a different page says the fare the driver sees in the app may NOT be the exact fare paid by the rider.

Uber Fare Discrepancies

A Different Page on the Uber Website Says Fares Between Riders & Drivers May Not Match

Uber hasn’t provided an official explanation on the fare discrepancies.  But I’m optimistic this could just be a temporary situation given Uber recently changed the pricing model.

I’m hopeful that Uber will continue to pay drivers based on a percentage of the actual fare paid by a rider.

What Can You Do as an Uber Rider?

Uber riders and drivers can wait until the end of a ride to confirm the upfront guaranteed rider fare matches the fare shown on the driver’s app.

Some folks say the driver app does not always instantly show the fare at the end of a ride.  But drivers can politely ask the rider for the upfront rate they received before requesting the ride.  Then, the driver can compare the fares at a later time.

The fare issue seems to be more impactful for drivers.  Because they might not be getting a payout based on the actual fare a rider is paying.

If you don’t like Uber’s new pricing system and the potential discrepancies, you can always use alternatives like Lyft or a taxi.

But I still think Uber is a convenient service.  In my experience, Uber drivers are very friendly and their cars tend to be cleaner than taxis.  

Bottom Line

With Uber’s new pricing model, there are fare discrepancies for riders and drivers.

Riders pay a guaranteed fare based on an upfront estimate, which doesn’t change, even if there’s traffic or you take a longer route.

But drivers are receiving a payout based on the actual time and distance of a trip, which might be less than what the rider paid.  This means Uber is taking a larger percentage of the fare.

Are you an Uber rider or driver?  I’d like to hear your experience regarding any fare discrepancies in the comments!

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8 responses to “Is Uber Charging Riders More & Paying Drivers Less?

  1. This might be a deliberate move.

    Riders feel more comfortable knowing the right amount.

    Drivers feel more comfortable in getting what they worked for. If they get stuck in traffic or the rider wants to stop for dropping a friend/package on the way, they want to be paid more.

  2. There is a difference on every ride. I have screen shot and video proof. I went down to speak with Uber and they told me it should not be happening. Yet it happens of every trip. I had one 18 mil ride where the pax was in my car for 42 mins. Uber told me the fair was 26.85 however the pax was charged 41.56 It happens every time. Uber is guessing that most people will not share info. It was a pax who brought this to my attention. Uber is charging the rider more than they should for the actual ride. Then they are pocketing the difference. In the example above the rider paid 15 more for the ride and 10 of that should have been in my pocket. I have been doing the math and Uber is averaging close to 42% per ride. If it is a GLITCH, it only benefits Uber with riders and passengers being taken advantage of.

  3. I just noticed that the fares on my screen didnt match up with the riders a few days ago and have been asking the passengers to send me screenshots of what they got charged. Not one person has had the same amount, uber is pocketing extra money on top of the booking fees. I have called a few law offices and left messages and am still waiting on a call back.

  4. This is a major issue. I only drive Uber for my commute and often pick up passengers for the same route. Pax are being charged up to double what the “fare” actually is. Plus. The “estimated” fare quoted and charged the Pax has never, ever been similar or even close to the actual fare the drivers fee is based upon. This is a scam. Plain and simple.

  5. Yes it happened to me yesterday all day untill a rider asked why she was being charged that much for less than a mile and we compared prices and obviously Uber is stealing money. I’ve talk to several customers to compare fares and they dont match at all. Uber being stealing from riders and drivers and we are talking about millions of dollars not just 5 bucks

  6. Yes, I have just started driving for Huber for not even a week and yet and realized already that they are not showing the full amount they charged the riders on the driver’s statement. They only showed less amount minus their fee. For example, tonight they charged the rider the amount of $9.82, however they showed on my account the fare cost was only $7.76 – 1.94 = 5.82. I followed the Uber’s Gps direction. There is nothing unusual happened during this driving. Also, I have talked to the riders and they told me that when you cancel a trip when a driver is there already, they charged them $5.00. However, a ride with a distance of 1 to, maybe 4 miles showed on my account they charged only $4 – $1.00 = $3.00. It does not make sense. They are scamming the drivers. Whre is the government? They should do something about this. It is not fair.

  7. I’m an Uber driver and noticed this discrepancy in the fare amounts. What happens in the case where the drivers fare is greater than the guaranteed fare provided to the rider? What amount does the driver receive?

  8. I am an uber driver in san francisco and just today i noticed uber is not paying drivers the full ride time. Example today i picked up a couple and when we got close to their destination the man says hes going to change the destination when we get a block away from the original destination because we will be dropping his girlfriend tje proceed to the new destination to drop him off. After getting home i checked that fare only to notice under ride details ( given to me by uber) the total trip took 43 minutes but uber only paid 34 minutes. So i started checking past fares and have noticed every fair is paid to the driver at less time then the ride actually took. In some of my fares there has been as much as 50% less time paid to me by uber than the ride took. I questioned uber about the ride from today and got an email response and i quote ” Thanks for getting in touch.

    We’ve reviewed the fare for this trip and can confirm the trip fare does fall within our estimate. Fares vary by city and are based on time and distance of a trip.

    Thank you”

    Atleast for me its been every ride that ive looked at. If this is the case for every driver than uber has under paid drivers millions and millions all aroind the world. Class action suit maybe?