PickMe and Uber updates their prices

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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.

Let’s have a look at the new prices for a PickMe

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.

PickMe minicabs are now cheaper after 10 PM (Image credits: PickMe)
PickMe minicabs are now cheaper after 10 PM (Image credits: PickMe)

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.”

A tuk has become a bit more expensive on PickMe (Image credits: PickMe)
A tuk has become a bit more expensive on PickMe (Image credits: PickMe)

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.”

Here’s how much an Uber costs in Colombo now

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.

The updated prices for an Uber in Colombo
The updated prices for an Uber in Colombo

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.

What this means for us

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

14 COMMENTS

  1. I have tried both the apps regularly as a foreigner living in Sri Lanka. We travel often and take long distance drives. The problem is Uber only caters around Colombo area and are not easily available for long distance. At least that’s what the drivers are saying. Pick-Me is available however the quality of drivers and their ability to speak English is getting lower and lower. They should really try to maintain a standard within their team. Overall pick-me is good but these days it’s hard to catch a cab due to demand

  2. I am a Uber customer. Service is very good. Vehicles are clean and drivers are courteous. I had couple of issues regarding the payment but when complained they were settled quickly. What else to expect from a cab service.

  3. Sir,
    I am planning to travel from Kochikade church Kotahena to Near Savoy theater wellawatte in the morning at 7.15 and return at 1.30pm. from 15th March(will confirm later)
    What will be the charges-for both up and down
    How do I book at once for both trips on a regular basis–except on sundays
    Please let me know

  4. Do check with the taxi companies. They should be able to help you out
    Uber is shit.. charging 25% from the drivers.. which is damn unfair

  5. Hi,

    I have tried with taxi.lk where I can get fixed rates by choosing start & end destination. They have charged nothing other than than rates which shows in the website. Most attractive point is well dressed driver with good road knowledge.

    Heared they tied up with few tour companies as well so they handle tourtist with mitli language chauffeurs. Try out once. You will return again & again with these ppl. Highly recommended.

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