Uber testing tiered payment system 

click to enlarge In this photo taken Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, a man leaves the headquarters of Uber in San Francisco. - AP PHOTO/ERIC RISBERG
  • In this photo taken Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, a man leaves the headquarters of Uber in San Francisco.
Will cutting Uber drivers’ pay spur them to drive more?

That’s one factoid transit-tech company Uber is trying to ferret out, with a new pilot program offering differing tiers of payment depending on how many customers a driver nets.

First reported in Forbes on Monday, Uber has confirmed with The San Francisco Examiner that it’s currently testing a tiered payment system with select new drivers on its platform.

The test is in San Francisco and San Diego. Right now, Uber takes a 25 percent cut of drivers’ fares. For the experiment, a small percentage of new drivers have a weekly quota which changes Uber’s cut. It starts at 30 percent for a driver’s first 20 rides, lowers to 25 percent for the next 20 rides, and then 20 percent for more than 40 rides.

Uber estimated it takes two to three days to net 30 or more rides. The company is drawing fire across the country as some drivers report struggling to make even minimum wage. Uber says it has more than 20,000 drivers in the Bay Area, many of whom are in San Francisco. As this is a pilot, they remain unaffected by the test fare structure, Uber said.

In a statement, Uber said the pilot “offers a structure where drivers have the opportunity to earn more based on the number of trips they drive.”

About The Author

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

Born and raised in San Francisco, Fitzgerald Rodriguez was a staff writer at the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and now writes the S.F. Examiner's political column On Guard. He is also a transportation beat reporter covering pedestrians, Muni, BART, bikes, and anything with wheels.
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