I use Uber a lot. It’s convenient, safe, and reduces the stress of getting around the city. I’ve written about how glad I am that Uber exists. I don’t even mind paying the surge rate (up to 5X during the Xmas season last year) as long as I am informed of it beforehand. Hey, traffic is a pain in the ass, what are you going to do.
Recently Uber updated its app. Now it doesn’t show you the surge rate. Instead you get an “Upfront Fare” that tells you how much your ride will cost. It may seem like a good idea—except that that is not what you end up paying.
This morning I took Uber to the Rockwell area. The “Upfront Fare” was Php55. The actual fare when I got to my destination was Php100.
This afternoon I took Uber back to my house, roughly the same distance as my morning trip. The “Upfront Fare” was Php170. The actual fare I was charged when I got home: Php248.
I understand that the effects of road traffic cannot be predicted exactly, but knowing the surge rate would give me a more accurate idea of how much I would have to pay. The “Upfront Fare” is completely unreliable, being nearly 50 percent off the final fare. I would prefer not to get a shock when the driver gives me the total (I use the cash option, so I am more aware of what I pay than if I charged it to a card).
As I am trying to be cheerful, I thought I would take it up with Uber instead of getting angry. In the past, I could report issues to Uber by replying to the receipt they email after each ride. Turns out you can’t do that anymore. I got an automatic reply that said the address does not accept incoming email. I was advised to go to “Help” in the Uber app or go to help.uber.com on the web.
So I did that. But the Help menu on both app and website has limited options, none of which cover “Your Upfront Fare is not very upfront, and I would prefer to see the surge rate so I don’t get a shock.” I tried reporting my issue under “I lost an item” and “I had an issue with a receipt or payment option” to no avail.
I asked my terrifyingly efficient sister how I could contact Uber, and she suggested their Facebook page. As I am not on the social media, I asked her to relay my message for me. Here is their reply:
Hello, just go to your History in Uber app, choose the trip that got issue and submit a note, we’ll follow up.
In short, Uber does not care to listen. And if Uber will not listen, I do not have to use Uber.
Uber, I want a reply. Readers, could you do me a favor and pass this on to them?
In the meantime I will use Grab. I have found Grab to be slightly more expensive, but at least they tell you what the final fare is as soon as you book.
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Update on 13 December: The surge rate is back! When you request a ride, the surge rate appears.
See? Was that so difficult? Uber-ing again.
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Update on 15 December: Since that time the surge rate window has not appeared again,