Private-hire vehicle service provider Uber has come under fire for introducing new wait-time charges for passengers who make drivers wait for them above a certain time.
According to the new policy, riders will be charged a minimum of an additional 20 cents per minute, after the first three minutes, that their driver waits for them to board. The charge varies across Uber services.
Charges only apply to uberX, uberXL, UberEXEC and EXECLarge, at this point. Services like uberPOOL will not be impacted.
Although Uber has said that the policy is meant to encourage passengers to book their rides when they’re ready, netizens have taken a different view and have excoriated the group online since the move benefits drivers at the expense of riders.
Riders who have had the experience of having to wait for their drivers who arrive later than the indicated time are especially peeved at the new move. In response, Uber has assured riders that the timer is set to only start when the driver is close to or at the pickup location:
“To ensure that riders are not unfairly charged when the drivers are not at the pickup location, we have set the timer to begin only when the driver is at or very close to the pickup location. If the driver is not at or very close to the pickup location, you will not be charged for the wait time.”
Despite this clarification, riders predominantly remain angry at the policy and have expressed their displeasure on Uber’s Facebook post introducing the move:
Unfortunately, frustrated customers who wish to switch to Grab may be in for an unpleasant surprise: the Uber rival also charges late fees for tardy passengers. Customers who take more than five minutes to board their Grab rides will be liable to pay an additional $3 for every extra five minutes the driver is expected to wait.
Our aim is to give our riders and driver-partners a smooth Uber experience, every time. To ensure that our driver-partners get their due for the time spent on the road, we're introducing wait-time charges.