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Uber will become ‘fixed fare’ across the UK

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Uber has quietly slipped out the news that it is moving to fixed fares across the UK.

This is, I imagine, part of the deal agreed with Transport for London when it issued Uber with a new licence last month. It puts Uber’s pricing model on a par with other minicab operations, with only black cabs now charging on a joint time and distance basis.

Uber becoming fixed fare in UK

From next week, the price you are shown in the Uber app when booking a ride will be the price you pay.

The price will NOT be the same for every ride you take, however. The price shown will be based on:

“the expected duration and distance of the trip, accounting for anticipated traffic patterns and known road closures, as well as dynamic pricing when demand is high”

You can find out more on the Uber website here.

Comments (42)

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  • Andrew says:

    Correction: Uber is becoming fixed fare across the U.K. – not just in London!

    • C says:

      Yes and to me this is not a good thing. Uber’s app does not usually pick the best route and I can usually save around £10 each way for my airport trips by directing the driver against the app directions. I will probably stop using Uber from now on

      • Lady London says:

        I dont use Uber a lot in London but on the few journeys I did Zones 1-2 the fare was way over the quote and I’d rather have had a Black Cab – no difference in fare and less comfortable if you’re carrying any more than a handbag

      • Alex Sm says:

        To be honest, it’s the worst thing a passenger can do is to direct drivers instead of sitting back and shutting up. Imagine if a stranger comes to you and starts telling you from behind how to do your job, guided by good intentions only of course

        • The Savage Squirrel says:

          That would be true for a black cab driver.
          However, the Uber and private hire markets are a lot more variable. The two locations that anyone in the taxi business knows best are surely the local airport and the local train station. When a driver asks you if you know the postcode of the train station foir their sat-nav (like I had last month) you realise that you’re not dealing with someone who is the most knowledgeable or experienced….

        • Riccatti says:

          Not true. A lot of Uber drivers in London come to work from outside boroughs, not even Greater London. They will quickly admit it and are very amenable to suggested route.

          We are not talking about yelling orders — you have to plan ahead and firmly tell that you want to go via Bridge A or another signpost.

  • blenz101 says:

    UK wide for sure but won’t apply in a number of circumstances. So it may be possible to direct the driver to achieve a lower fare…..

    “Situations where Upfront Pricing will not apply:

    1 . If the rider adds or deletes a stop in their app.

    OR
    2. If the final destination is more than 1 mile away from the initially requested destination in a straight line (not distance travelled) – this can result in the actual fare being higher or lower than the upfront price.

    OR
    3. If a detour is taken and the trip is both further and slower than initially estimated in the upfront price, this will result in the actual fare being higher than the upfront price:

    a. Further means at least 40% AND 0.5 miles further in distance than initially estimated.
    b. Slower means at least 20% AND 2 minutes slower than initially estimated.

    OR
    4. If the trip is at least 40% AND 10 minutes slower in duration than initially estimated in the upfront price (for eg. due to traffic or long stops), this will result in the actual fare being higher than the upfront price.

    If riders want to change their trip, they should update the destination or number of stops in-app. Drivers should remind riders to update their destination and number of stops during the trip to help ensure this is reflected in the fare.”

    • blenz101 says:

      And by this I mean game the system by playing around with 1 or 2 to get the journey charged by actual time and distance.

    • Grumpy Man says:

      I got stung by Uber in New York. Driver took an abysmal route that took forever and I got charged more than my fixed fare because of ‘extraordinary conditions’.

      Absolutely and utterly ridiculous that Uber can advise an up front cost and then charge customers extra with no notice.

      • Mike says:

        You should challenge it. Same happened to me in the Bay Area (driver insisted the 280 to SF would be quicker than the 101, despite Google Maps saying otherwise; it ended up being considerably slower), and got the fare reversed by Uber.

    • Lady London says:

      ummmm so not worth a lot then.

    • memesweeper says:

      “If the trip is at least 40% AND 10 minutes slower in duration than initially estimated in the upfront price (for eg. due to traffic…” — because *that* never happens in London! how do they get away it it?

  • Andrew says:

    And from the email Uber sent on Friday – this change comes in tomorrow, not January as Rob is saying.

    • ChrisC says:

      If you want the ‘old’ time and distance fare then you just need to schedule a car in advance as per the very last FAQ in the link to Uber,

    • Rob says:

      Thanks, will update. This was written days ago and I never got the email.

      • Andrew says:

        Not sure why you are saying “potentially across the U.K.” the information from Uber is queue clear that is is across the U.K. from tomorrow: https://www.uber.com/en-GB/blog/uk-upfrontpricing/

        • Dan says:

          Not a particularly well researched article, Rob! But agree with other commenters that this doesn’t feel like a positive move for the customer

          • blenz101 says:

            Could actually end up being in the customers favour and against the driver.

            You can get upto 1 mile free on the final destination (dropping off at busy venues you may wish to go to a specific door etc.) and drivers are taking the risk (unless you detour) of upto 10 minutes delay due to unexpected traffic.

            Not sure who is using TomTom but I would have thought Google Maps would be far more accurate for reporting real time road speeds given the volume of users. Tom Tom may be fine for motorways but suspect it won’t be as hot in most major towns and cities.

          • Rob says:

            We wrote this article 5 days ago – when the only info available was the original version of the Uber blog post – and we kept pushing it back. As it happens more came to light since then. I regret not running it earlier as virtually no-one knew about it when I was told.

        • Rob says:

          That document has changed since we did the article. Not an excuse for not spotting it had changed, I admit, except that reworking weekend content is always tricky due to time constraints.

  • Hardpack says:

    Since BA stopped Kyiv before corona, it will be good to have another direct flight from Heathrow. Great spot for a weekend away, plus the Chernobyl tourism is big

    • J says:

      Agreed Kyiv is a great city, very good value and great people!

    • Oh! Matron! says:

      I quite enjoyed Kyiv last year. The rooms in the Hilton are much nicer than it’s facade suggest. There’s some great free tours of the city, some nice parks, and I had two of my best meals ever, one in a small park near the botanical gardens (themselves a nice walk) and a Georgian restaurant half way between the Hilton and the Train station… The departures board in the train station was incredible: You can get to so many different parts of Europe from there.

      • Lady London says:

        @K and @Oh Matron! how long would you give for a first visit to Kiev?

        Anyone able to say for Leningrad?

        Lastly, is visa still required at ridiculous cost for Leningrad?

        • Lady London says:

          @J, sorry

          • J says:

            2-3 days is enough for a short visit but plenty to do if your schedule allows longer. The only way around the Visa requirement for St Petersburg I believe is if you enter via a cruise ship. Otherwise it’s as you say very expensive (although reciprocal and based on the high visa costs for Russian tourists).

        • Alex M says:

          4-5 days as a minimum for each, I’d say.

        • Pangolin says:

          I stayed there for a week but if you’re not doing excursions and you plan properly then I think you can see an awful lot in 3 days.

          BTW, Leningrad is now known as St Petersburg 😉

  • WaynedP says:

    Would be helpful information to include expiry terms when highlighting hotel points buying opportunities, especially when suggesting sitting on them for a few years.

    Rob, please consider including this info in your otherwise excellent headline summaries – I’ve noticed this important info missing in previous articles, thanks.

    • Rob says:

      Fair point. However, in virtually all cases ANY activity resets the expiry clock (activity would include buying another 1,000 points) so it very rarely happens.

      We do tend to mention it when dealing with people who unilaterally expire your points although that list is shrinking. Lufty is the main offender but they don’t sell miles.

      • Lady London says:

        Accor are the other b*st***s that expire all your existing points if you dont do a stay each 12 months and not a day more.

        Recently they told me a credited purchase through their shopping site or food/beverage transaction booked to your Accor card in any of their hotels would reset the clock but otherwise Accor is as ruthless as Lufthansa in expiring your points.

        Watch out for Iberia towho will also expire your points if no earning in three years – easy to forget about. Several people had points cancelled by Iberia as soon as they were returned after Iberia cancelled flights and Iberia was refusing any return ao they could rebook ( probably illegal not to reroute the ticket underEU261rerouting rights if reroute requested but some people took refunds and didnt know)

    • ChrisC says:

      I find that the vast majority of people know when their points (and status ) will expire or that is easily available via your online account.

      Not sure why you think Rob should duplicate already public information. People need to take some responsibilty for themselves expecially if you have laid out several hundred pounds to buy points (which you should only do if you have checked out all the T&Cs)

  • Neil Pearson says:

    How that a fixed rate!
    There always traffic and road works in London.
    So they will charge u for extra duration of time.
    U wait.

    • Rob says:

      In theory, the fixed price quoted is based on known disruption when you press book. If, for example, there are roadworks on the way then the app will have adjusted for that.

      • Lady London says:

        Hum. I think I just saw a pig fly past the window.

        I’d expect some ‘discussions’ between surprised passengers and drivers, given those ts and cs.

  • Alex Sm says:

    You can collect points from PS (UIA) on Etihad FF programme and then convert to cash through their virtual paying card or just use as you would use Etihad points. I did this a couple of times in 2015-2016, hope it still works

  • TomD says:

    Looking at hotels in Istanbul. Sadly not attractive at all for Radisson.

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