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This Big Change To Uber Is Going To Get Expensive

Photo: Courtesy of Uber
There'll be no more dilly dallying if Uber has its way. The cab firm might be introducing new rules that mean drivers can fine passengers if they're left waiting for more than just two minutes.

The new introduction has already been trialled in Dallas, New York, New Jersey and Phoenix. After repeated complaints from their workers about waiting for lengthy periods of time for riders who felt no need to hurry, Uber introduced the fine system in April in parts of the US. It has allowed drivers to add a fine of $5 or $10 to a ride, dependent on how long they're made to wait for.

It's not all bad news for us customers though – part of the new scheme means passengers will be able to cancel an Uber after five minutes without the usual £5 fine.

The fine system is part of an ongoing attempt by Uber to improve their work force's working lives. In a post on their newly launched blog, Behind The Wheel, Uber explained:

'There are plenty of things we can do to make driving more empowering and worth your while. And beginning today, we are rolling out a number of features and rewards in more cities to help you get the most out of your time on the road.'

Sceptics will argue that the pressure for improvements has come from a number of law cases bought against Uber by their drivers; most significantly the $100 million that Uber paid out to California and Massachusetts drivers who were lobbying to be classified as employees – entitling them to all the benefits and expenses afforded to a normal employee – but they lost to Uber, who were able to keep them on as "independent contractors".

This meant that Uber was not forced to give their drivers any extra perks. At the time, Uber argued that their fleet of taxi-driver remaining as "contractors" was in the drivers' interest too, as it allowed them to dictate their own working days, but many objected to the email-only communication system.

Today, on the Uber blog, other perks were announced:

Driver Destinations:

This means that when you request an Uber, Uber will only source cabs that are "on your way."

Instant pay:

Drivers will soon be able to apply for a "GoBank Uber Debit Card" that will mean they can receive payments immediately.

Uber Greenlight Locations:

Physical locations where drivers can drop by and get face-to-face help and advice.
Ride Discounts:

Drivers, who also use the app as customers, will receive "15% off an uberX ride for every 10 trips you complete in a week, or 50% off an UberBLACK ride for every 20 trips done in a week."