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Uber rides to be cheaper from August

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Cheaper Uber fares will come into place next month, but drivers say they'll be unfairly impacted by the change.
Cheaper Uber fares

Uber has announced it will cut fares from 7 August. Prices are expected to decrease by less than 5% across Australia.

The cheaper fares are in response to current economic conditions including inflation.

However, the change will affect driver earnings, impacting what the Transport Workers Union called “some of the most vulnerable and underpaid workers in our economy”.

It comes ahead of new minimum standards for gig workers, which come into effect at the end of August.

Cheaper Uber fares

The changes to Uber fares coincide with new national protections for gig economy workers (e.g. ride-share and food delivery drivers).

The Government passed legislation in February to ensure gig workers have the same job security afforded to other workers.

Under the legislation, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) will have new powers to set out minimum standards for gig workers’ pay and insurance. Standards are expected to vary depending on the type of work.

Workers will be able to make applications to the FWC from 26 August. Fair Work will then develop standards based on these submissions.

This could include changes to how drivers are paid by Uber.

When the legislation was tabled last year, Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke said: “At the moment if you’re classed as an employee you have a whole lot of rights such as sick leave, annual leave and minimum rates of pay. If not, all those rights fall off a cliff. What we want to do is turn the cliff into a ramp.”

Union response

The TWU said rideshare drivers “facing cuts to their earnings” continue to work in an industry with no “safety net of enforceable standards.”

The Union hopes that minimum standards will lead to improved pay and conditions for Uber drivers, and mitigate some of the impacts of next month’s fare cuts.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said “binding standards that can be built up over time [are] critically urgent for gig workers and companies alike.”

Uber response

Current economic conditions, including persistent inflation numbers, are behind the changes to Uber fares.

Uber said that it reviews its prices “on an ongoing basis”, and is committed to “creating compelling earnings opportunities for drivers”. The expected introduction of worker standards by the FWC isn’t believed to have played a role in the changes to fares.

Uber supported the workplace reforms passed earlier this year.

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