Uber doubles minimum fares during rideshare battle

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — As the fight continues to assure rideshare companies Uber and Lyft remain in Austin, Uber is doubling its minimum fare. This comes a month after the Austin City Council voted in favor of fingerprint background checks for rideshare companies. Uber and Lyft vow to leave if those measures are implemented.

Here’s how the new Austin fares break down:

  • uberX OLD: $2.30 NEW: $5.30
  • uberXL OLD: $3.80 NEW: $7.80
  • uberSELECT OLD: $4.30 NEW: $8.80

Uber spokesperson Debbee Hancock tells KXAN the new prices are more consistent with most major markets, including all major cities in Texas. That said, the minimum fare for a standard Uber ride (uberX) in Austin is now more expensive than San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas/Fort Worth.

San Antonio Uber fares:

  • uberX $4.70
  • uberXL $7.70
  • uberSELECT $10.70

Houston Uber fares:

  • uberX $5.00
  • uberXL $7.95
  • uberSELECT $10.95

Dallas Uber fares:

  • uberX $5.00
  • uberXL $6.45
  • uberSELECT $9.20

When Uber lowered its minimum fares over the summer, drivers were told their ridership would increase, meaning they’d make more money. But the drivers KXAN spoke with Monday said that didn’t happen. In fact, many had to cut back on driving hours to make the job worth their while financially. That’s because short rides, like those concentrated in the the downtown area, lost value.

“I know a lot of drivers that don’t do downtown because on average, they are just 2-3 miles and you are just making the minimum fare,” Uber driver Anthony Nguyen told KXAN.

The bump in the minimum fare helps drivers’ bottom line.

“They’ve increased the base rate, which IS something. It’s not a lot, but you know, it does make a difference. But we’re kind of wondering after this petition, if they’re going to lower the rates too,” Nguyen said.

Just last week, more than 30 musicians and community leaders threw their support behind “The Rideshare Works” petition. The group hopes to get at least 20-thousand signatures to present to City Council to overthrow the new rules, specifically, a push for all TNC (transportation network companies) drivers to undergo a fingerprint background check.

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