Fare increase in Melbourne: UberX drivers to charge $1.15 per kilometre

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The Uber app logo is seen on a mobile telephone in this October 28, 2016 photo illustration. Reuters/Toby Melville/Illustration/File Photo

Uber customers in Melbourne will pay higher fares while drivers may get better pay. The ride-sharing company has announced its plans to increase fares so it will be able to pay its drivers better.

UberX passengers will now pay $1.15 per kilometre, which means an added $1. The price is at 35¢ per minute when the vehicle is not moving, up from 32¢.

Changes to UberX fares start as early as Friday. These will also apply to UberXL and Select rides. Uber passengers in other Victorian cities will be affected by the rate hike.

As for the booking fee of 55¢, the amount will be unchanged, according to Fairfax Media. The base fare of $2 will also remain. Uber pockets 20 to 25 percent of the fare and that will remain to be the case.

The rate hike comes as Uber faces ongoing concerns about drivers’ issues on pay and conditions. Uber Victorian general manager Lucas Groeneveld was quick to explain the fare increases, saying it was the result of feedback on how challenging driving for the Silicon Valley giant could be. "With this in mind, we’re making changes to better reflect the time and effort involved in getting riders where they need to go," Sydney Morning Herald reports Groeneveld as saying.

Recent Uber changes

The recently announced fare hike is one of the latest changes happening to Uber. Just last month, the company added fees for passengers who keep drivers waiting for longer than 2 minutes.

Uber has also decided to make it easier for drivers to decline jobs through the “no thanks” button. Drivers must also be notified about long trips so they will know if a job will take longer than 45 minutes.

Earlier this month, a screenshot showing how much Uber charged was posted by one commuter. Uber said that the image, which shows a huge price surge during storms, was Photoshopped. The image of a supposed price surge of nearly four times the usual rate was posted during storms that left Melbourne struggling with rains and flood.

An Uber spokesperson told the Daily Mail Australia that the receipt appeared to be an obvious Photoshop. He pointed out that it does not include an item, which is a standard on genuine Uber receipts.

Meanwhile, the Fair Work Ombudsman continues to investigate if Uber's driver contracts violate workplace laws. Drivers were not engaged as employees, but self-employed contractors.

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