Uber emailed New York City users of its taxi-hailing app, UberT,
Wednesday to notify them that it would begin charging a $2 fee for the
previously free service.
UberT allows users in the city to hail a yellow cab or a green borough taxi to pick them up, then pay the driver directly with cash or credit. But the email to users, obtained by Vice’s Motherboard, says that beginning on Christmas Eve all completed UberT trips are subject to a $2 booking fee “on behalf of yellow and boor taxi drivers who utilize the Uber platform.”
As Motherboard pointed out, it’s not clear how the fee will go to benefit taxi drivers since the $2 fee is collected through the Uber app. Techcrunch noted that the booking fees for UberT aren’t new, either; the company already collects them in the Chicago and Singapore markets.
But Uber’s email suggested that the real goal of the new fee is to push more users towards the company’s low-cost ride-sharing service, UberX (emphasis Uber’s):
We want to take this opportunity to introduce uberX, the low-cost Uber. Cars on uberX are hybrids or mid-range vehicles in a variety of colors, and with rates cheaper than an NYC taxi, there’s no better way to get around!