Over the past year, both taxi hailing apps PickMe and Uber have become a regular part of our lives. Many of us have started using one of these apps as our primary method of getting to Point A to Point B. But after today, we might have to think twice about that. In an interesting coincidence, both PickMe and Uber updated their prices today. Much of these updates are increases, but to call them all increases would be technically incorrect. So how have the taxi apps we’ve come to accept as a daily part of our commute changed? How will these changes be affecting your wallet? Let’s take a look.
The reason why we said that both services have updated their prices is because of PickMe. As of December 1st, 2016, PickMe has both increased and decreased some of their prices. In other words, there’s some good news and some bad news. The good news is that PickMe has decided to remove their 15% night fare for minicabs and cars.
This means if you take a PickMe minicab after 10 PM, it will cost Rs.45 per kilometer and a car will cost Rs.64 per kilometer. You won’t have to pay any additional charges. However, if you choose to use to travel by tuk, you’re out of luck. If you book a tuk after 10 PM via PickMe, you’ll still have to pay an additional 15% as the night fare.
Additionally, PickMe tuks will now cost Rs.85 for the 1st two kilometers for all bookings made outside Colombo. PickMe has said on their Facebook page that “This is to encourage our drivers to accept hires even if it isn’t for a long distance and refrain from picking the wrong passenger or completing the hire on their own accord without having picked up the passenger. This was calculated as Rs.50 + Rs.35 for the 1st and 2nd KM’s respectively.”
PickMe also went on to say, “Out of Colombo our drivers may sometimes have to travel about 2KM to pick the passenger who only travels 1KM or less. Though we have restricted the search radius we have seen people move the iMan around and hail a taxi anyway. This was a protective measure to keep the drivers happy and more willing to cater to short hires than they are now.”
Yet, the biggest change PickMe introduced today is the new Peak Charge. For certain locations, at times when demand is high, PickMe will be charging an additional 15 – 25% for all tuk hires in that area. During these peak times, a notification will appear informing you that Peak Charges will be added to your fare. PickMe explained the reasoning for taking this decision saying, “This was a strategic decision of utmost urgency to the business in order to cater to the overwhelming demand we have at peak hours in certain locations. This is not a flat rate that would apply to all locations at a predefined time slot. This will only apply for places where the technology realizes that the demand is much larger than the supply, and therefore will encourage the supply to get to those locations at those times in order to cater to that demand.”
Uber too has updated their prices today. Compared to PickMe these changes are a lot simpler because Uber has only increased their prices. The silver lining is that these increased prices only apply for long-distance hires. From the 1st of December 2016, Uber will be charging an increased price after the first 10 KM’s you travel. Below is a table that Uber shared on their website. As it states, you’ll now be charged an additional Rs.12 per kilometer after traveling 10 KM in an Uber.
Uber has explained this increase in price saying, “To justify partner economics, we’re introducing a marginal change in pricing for longer distance trips in Colombo.” In simple terms, to ensure their drivers get a better deal with long distance trips, Uber is increasing its prices. Despite this increased price, Uber claims to have the cheapest ride in Colombo. However, even on their website, they have a disclaimer saying that actual fares may vary from their estimates.
In simple terms, if you want to hail a ride with either app, it’s going to be more expensive now. Both PickMe and Uber have increased their prices to give their drivers a better deal. From the viewpoint of both companies, this is fair. It’s important that drivers are available and willing to take hires. This means ensuring drivers get a fair deal. However, as consumer, we’ll probably have to think twice about hailing a cab with either app now. Especially, if you are living outside Colombo and trying to get to work during rush hour.
What are your thoughts on both PickMe and Uber’s price updates? Let us know in the comments below
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