Uber charges users more when their phone’s battery is low, research shows
- Two Uber drivers planned to make identical trips through Brussels at the same time
- A taxi driver with a low battery was reportedly offered a fare 5 percent higher
- Uber denies that its taxi fares are affected by battery levels, it has been reported
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Uber has come under fire over allegations that users will be charged higher fees if their phone’s battery is low.
Taxi drivers were offered different charges for driving Uber, despite identical trips across Brussels, a damning investigation has found.
Belgian newspaper Derniere Heure reported that the two passengers had 12 percent and 84 percent battery levels during the small study.
The phone with a lower battery would be offered a fare of €17.56 (£15.55) to travel from a secret office to the more central Tour & Taxis, while the other would charge €16.60 (£14.70) was charged.
While Uber’s rates are influenced by numerous factors such as time of day and distance, these taxis were ordered at the same time.
Uber denies that its taxi fares are affected by battery levels, it has been reported
The accusations of Dernère Heure
Phone with 84 percent battery
trip: From a secret office in Brussels, Belgium to Tour & Taxis in the city center.
UberX Fee: €16.60 (£14.70)
Uber Comfort fare: €20.19 (£17.88)
Of compensation: €24.50 (£21.69)
Phone with 12 percent battery
trip: From a secret office in Brussels, Belgium to Tour & Taxis in the city center (identical journey).
UberX Fee: €17.56 (£15.55)
Uber Comfort fare: €21.32 (£18.88)
Uber Black Fee: €25.38 (£22.47)
Both would also be UberX options, but Uber Comfort, Van and Black options also saw different fees.
The phone with a higher battery would be offered €20.19 (£17.88) for Uber Comfort, while the other was offered a trip that cost more than 5 percent more for €21.32 (£18.88).
Meanwhile, the lower battery phone was offered €25.38 (£22.47) for a luxury Uber Black, while the other was offered €24.50 for a van (£21.69).
By approximation, Uber denied that ride costs were calculated based on a phone’s battery level.
Instead, they told the publication that fees are influenced by demand and “occupancy in an area.”
“During busy periods, when there are many requests for rides and few drivers are available in a certain geographic area, this can have an impact on the price of the ride. In all cases, the user is informed of the price of the ride before confirming his request,” Uber told Dernière Heure.
The taxi giant’s tactics are often based on a process known as “surge pricing,” which is catalyzed by special events, inclement weather and rush hour traffic.
During a period of unusually high demand, Uber is informing affected users of these price increases.
Those with an urgent trip can still order a taxi, while others choose to wait until the price drops again.
This peak charge not only varies between cities and countries, but can also change quickly in real time.
A taxi driver with a low battery was reportedly offered a fare 5 percent higher than the user who had an 84 percent battery charge when Dernière Heure conducted its research
Tolls, airport parking fees, and other charges can also pile up.
“Surge pricing is also specific to different areas in a city, so some neighborhoods may have high prices at the same time and others may not,” Uber’s website reads.
“If prices are high in your city when demand increases in a certain area, that neighborhood will change color in the app. The colored areas of the map range from light orange to dark red.
“Light orange areas represent smaller upside earning opportunities, while dark red areas indicate larger ones.”
MailOnline has also reached out to Uber for comment.
The Dernière Heure allegations come just months after the taxi giant was forced to raise its prices in the US over the Christmas period.
This has been fueled by the crippling effects of inflation, alongside a massive driver shortage in the aftermath of the pandemic.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi previously told the Chicago grandstand: ‘Inflation drives up prices, but a bigger factor is a shortage of Uber drivers.’
“The number of drivers has grown, which improves estimated arrival times and reduces rising prices and inflation encourages more people to drive for Uber as they look for ways to earn extra money for things like groceries,” he explained. out.