Ubers in London Are About to Get More Expensive

Jan 16, 2019

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Uber’s following through with its plan to improve London’s air quality, but it’s making riders pay for it.

Starting tomorrow, Uber’s in London are going to get more expensive. Riders will be subject to an extra 15 pence ($0.19) per mile charge, imposed not by any government authority, but by Uber itself. The move was brought as part of the ride-hailing company’s Clean Air plan, which hopes to transition all vehicles on the Uber app into electric cars by 2025.

Most riders should expect to see the cost of their rides go up about about 45 pence ($0.6 cents) since the average trip in London is around three miles.

The extra fee will go toward helping drivers purchase electric vehicles. Once an Uber driver is ready to purchase a new electric car, it will disperse the funds, which it estimates will be about £1,500 ($1,932) if a driver works 40 hours a week for an entire year. Over three years Uber says a driver could receive £4,500 ($5,787).

The company thinks it will raise more than £200 million ($257 million) “over the next few years” with the new fee and expects 20,000 drivers to switch to electric vehicles by 2021. Uber is encouraging drivers in the US to switch to electric cars, too, and is running a pilot program where it’s paying electric car owners an extra dollar (or more) per trip. 

However, Uber has not said if will take any money out of its coffers to help drivers subsidize the cost of a zero-emission vehicle. It’s working with other companies in the UK to install more charging stations in London.

Uber was only recently granted access to operate in London again after years of legal squabbles and revoking the company’s operating license. London has been working to improve its air quality, and a court recently ruled that ride-hailing cars will no longer be exempt from London’s congestion pricing fee unless they are zero-emission vehicles.

Will the increase in price drive more people toward traditional black cabs? Probably not, considering the extra cost is pretty marginal. According to to a few sources, it usually makes sense to forgo the ride-hailing app if the price is surging by more than 1.7x the normal cost.

If you do find yourself in a London Uber anytime soon, remember to pay with a credit card that waives foreign transaction fees and earns bonus points on travel purchases like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Citi Premier Card.

Featured image by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images.

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