Uber UpFront Fares algorithm cuts driver earnings

Released: February 2022

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An Uber algorithm that allowed drivers in 24 cities across the US to see pay and destinations before accepting a trip resulted in lower overall earnings, and in Uber taking a bigger cut of fares, according to The Markup.

Uber says its new Upfront Fare algorithm is based on 'several factors', including base fare, time and distance rates, and real-time demand at the destination. It argues that the new system is more transparent, gives drivers 'more control and choice'., and that drivers are likely to make less money for longer trips but should earn more on shorter trips.

Except California, where Uber started a similar programme in 2020, the company had resisted offering drivers the ability to see the fare and destination before accepting a trip on the basis that drivers may 'cherry-pick trips' or 'discriminate against riders in disadvantaged neighbourhoods'.

Operator: Uber
Developer: Uber
Country: USA
Sector: Automotive
Purpose: Determine pay
Technology: Pay algorithm
Issue: Employment - pay; Fairness
Transparency: Governance; Black box

Page info
Type: Issue
Published: February 2022
Last updated: September 2023