NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Uber users are now paying less in New York City.
The ride-hailing service lowered fares on its UberX and UberXL services by about 15 percent starting 7 a.m. Friday.
The base fare on UberX dropped from $3 to $2.55, with the per mile rate going from $2.15 to $1.75. UberXL saw drops of similar levels.
Josh Mohrer, Uber New York general manager, told 1010 WINS the cuts make “Uber cheaper than a taxi and more affordable for residents all over the city.”
Uber said previous fare reductions have resulted in more rides for drivers and less time waiting between fares.
“Trips in the outer boroughs doubled while the increase in demand actually makes drivers earn more,” Mohrer said. “Lower fares do mean riders are going to have more access to Uber. We want to be one of the most affordable rides on the road and we do think this is going to spur the demand, especially in the outer boroughs where taxis tend to not even serve.”
Cabbies claim it’s unfair competition because taxi rates are fixed by regulation; plus there’s a built-in cost to being a taxi driver, 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern reported.
“We pay for a lease, the cost of the medallion, the maintenance,” one driver said.
Standing outside the Uber office in Long Island City, some taxi drivers branded the company a Wall Street on wheels, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.
“They can’t continue to monopolize on the backs of hard working people,” said Bhairavi Desai, executive director New York Taxi Workers Alliance. “We call on Uber to reinstate their fares, we call on the City Council to legislate a minimum fare requirement.”
Some Uber drivers also protested the lower fares, fearing that they will now have to take a pay cut.
“If we’re going to get the same money we’re making right now, we’re going to have to work at least six to eight hours more a week,” Juan Batista told CBS2’s Sonia Rincon.
Uber driver Mohsin Alvi believes they should have been allowed to vote on whether to lower the fare.
“We have to face the problems of drunk people, drug dealers, strippers, hookers, you name it. Every single person who is out in New York Cit is getting into Ubers, and nobody knows who Uber is,” Alvi told CBS2. “We are the face of Uber. We should have the right to vote whether to bring the prices lower or increase the prices.”
Uber is guaranteeing drivers who work the minimum will make more, and if they don’t, Uber will pay the difference. Mohrer told CBS2 the ultimate goal is to reduce the use of personal cars.
“And I think the growth of services like ours and our competitors and taxis, and buses and subways across the country is crucial for us to achieve that goal,” he said.
Beleaguered yellow cabbies say they can’t compete with the lower fare since their rates are determined by the Taxi and Limousine Commission.
But Mohrer said this is the way business works.
“While competition might not be good for the taxi industry, it is good for riders and it is good for drivers,” Mohrer said.