Rideshare drivers slam Uber’s ‘greed’ amid rising costs

Rideshare drivers are pushing back against major companies such as Uber, DiDi and Ola amid rising petrol rates and high costs of living.

Rideshare and taxi drivers have called out major companies for their poor relief measures amid rising petrol costs.

The pushback follows major rideshare companies such as Uber, DiDi and Ola introducing temporary levies in a bid to combat high petrol prices in March.

Ola led the charge, increasing fares by 15 per cent, while Uber’s surcharge in Australia, which will finish on Saturday, added 50 cents to an average trip.

DiDi followed suit, with a six cent per kilometre economic buffer coming into effect on March 21.

DiDi spokesperson Dan Jordan said it was “no secret” there was a driver shortage in the heat of the pandemic, but numbers had steadily increased since the surcharge announcement.

Mr Jordan said the “initiative” would be active for a minimum 60 days while the company made changes to its pricing.

“DiDi is moving to a flat service fee model in most cities for drivers … along with a slight price increase for riders,” he said.

“This latest surcharge (is) yet another initiative that provides additional support in the face of rising fuel prices.”

Rideshare drivers have shamed the companies for their economic “greed”.

One Uber driver, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Guardianthat an extra 30 cents for a 5km ride was “beyond a joke” when drivers had to travel up to 10km to pick up passengers.

“The fuel prices will become a big issue in September when the (fuel excise) levy is added back on,” they said.

“Uber’s greed of 27.5 per cent commission is the issue.”

According to recent data, unleaded petrol prices soared in every capital city expect Brisbane in May, hovering around the $1.80 mark.

Just two months prior, petrol prices skyrocketed to more than $2 before dropping to $1.60 in April following government intervention.

One driver said they were now earning “significantly less” than before the pandemic due to Uber’s “whopping commission”.

“The cost-effectiveness and convenience of Uber is at the cost of the drivers and is not reciprocated in the form of equitable earnings,” the driver said.

“Everything has gone up, significantly, except fares – petrol, insurance, maintenance, taxes, food. And nothing has reduced in costs. Uber still clips drivers a whopping commission.”

An Uber spokesperson said the company changed rates last month following feedback from their drivers.

“We recently made changes to these rates which we believe will help make earnings better for driver-partners while maintaining the reliable, safe and affordable experience that riders love,” they said.

Transport Workers’ Union national secretary, Michael Kaine said drivers were feeling a “deadly squeeze” as outgoings continue to increase at work and at home.

“Drivers have no access to minimum pay rights and haven’t seen an increase to their low rates for years,” he said.

“The cost-of-living crisis hits owner-drivers and gig economy workers twice over. Their outgoings have skyrocketed at home and work.

“We need an independent body to set enforceable minimum standards so that cost recovery is never a losing battle.”

Originally published as ’Beyond a joke’: Drivers slam Uber’s ‘greed’ amid rising costs

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