Uber is a popular rideshare service that allows people to navigate a city or town without a car or knowledge of the area. In California, a new law was passed that will affect the company and those who drive for it. California passed a new gig-economy law called Assembly Bill No. 5. This states that workers for the company will need to be treated as employees as opposed to independent contractors. They’ll be eligible for sick days and other employee benefits. In an effort to respond to this change, the company is testing a new feature in some small cities: allowing Uber drivers to set their own fares.
The feature is only in some areas in California as Uber is still gathering data and responses about the effectiveness of this feature and if it will benefit the company. Passengers requesting Uber from the airports in Santa Barbara, Palm Springs, and Sacramento will be met with drivers who can increase the Uber fare. Uber views it as a way to give drivers more control.
Uber has faced some legal challenges in the past. They have claimed that their company is meant to connect riders and drivers, but they are not primarily a transportation company. With this reasoning, the drivers are not part of its usual business and could be treated as independent contractors. This has been contested in lawsuits saying that Uber incorrectly classified their drivers, and AB5 protects the drivers from this misclassification.
This new feature isn’t the only change Uber has rolled out. From capping ride commissions, allowing California drivers to see the rider’s destination, and giving the drivers the choice to pick which trip they wanted to accept, Uber drivers are slowly gaining more independence. In the past, they used to not know where the rider was headed and could have accepted a ride with a long or complicated drive that they may not have wanted to take.
Drivers can increase their prices in 10% increments—the total being 5 times Uber’s set price. While this may make some riders feel cautious about using the app, Uber will also use a bidding system to offer rides. Those with the lowest set prices will match with the rider first. Drivers with higher fares will get notifications during times where more riders are making requests.
There are some possible drawbacks to this feature. If the fares are too high, riders may wait longer for cheaper trips. Uber trips could decrease. Riders may also switch to other services like Lyft. The company has not made any changes since AB5 passed.
This is why Uber is testing the feature in small cities. They’re seeing how this change will affect their company without risking damage. When they’ve reviewed the outcome of this new feature, they’ll make a decision whether or not it should be available state-wide.
The Rideshare Law Group helps those who have been injured in crashes involving companies like Uber and Lyft. With changing laws about how rideshare drivers are classified, filing your claim can be difficult because you may not know who is truly liable for your accident. Our skilled rideshare accident lawyers can help determine who was at fault for your injuries and can help you get the justice you deserve. Contact our office today.