As of late, Uber has been pushing for its drivers to be labeled as independant contractors in California, and their latest feature serves to drive that point home. The ride sharing app is currently testing out a new feature in the West Coast state that gives drivers the ability to choose their own ride prices instead of charging the default price. This feature allows drivers to hike up individual fares in 10% increments, and the prices are capped five times higher than what Uber’s set price would normally be for the ride. Currently, only drivers making trips to and from the Santa Barbara, Palm Springs, and Sacramento airports have access to this feature; however, the feature could expand to the greater Los Angeles and San Francisco areas if the trial run is successful.
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As expected, the drivers who set lower prices for a ride would be most customers first choice, while drivers with higher prices will get the bulk of their customers during periods of high demand. Uber is also testing another feature in California, that would allow passengers to assign themselves “favourite drivers” to schedule rides with. The feature will also give passengers the opportunity to give drivers vital information about each trip upfront before accepting the ride.
By offering increasing opportunities for drivers in California to have more freedom, Uber is continuing their attempts to prove that their drivers are independant contractors, in order to save millions of dollars by not providing benefits to its drivers has lead to an increasing. This increasing urgency to give their drivers more independence comes in the wake of California’s recently enacted law that takes issue with Uber’s stance.