Ride-hailing giant Uber Hong Kong announced minimum fare hikes of up to 80 per cent on Monday. Customers have, in turn, complained that the fare increases are costly and untimely.
UberX, which provides a private ride service for up to four people, saw an increase of 50 per cent and 80 per cent respectively for journeys starting in Kowloon & the New Territories and Hong Kong Island. The minimum fare was raised from HK$25 and HK$30 to HK$40, plus a HK$5 booking charge. A similar change was levied on uberASSIST rides, which provides an accessible ride service for disabled passengers.
UberBLACK, which provides a private ride service for up to seven passengers, saw a minimum fare increase of 30 per cent, with the fee rising from HK$50 to HK$60, plus a HK$5 booking charge.
Uber said that the fare revision had come in light of its “evaluation of the marketplace in Hong Kong,” adding that the addition of a booking fee would cover administrative costs. In comparison, regular urban taxis have a flag fall of HK$24.
In response, one Apple Daily commenter said: “To be honest, I really want to continue supporting Uber, but I don’t often travel long distances (and when it comes to long distance journeys, I would rather ride the MTR or the bus)… short journeys are not worth the money.”
A commenter on an LIHKG discussion thread said: “They haven’t even fostered a habit among Hongkongers to give up on riding taxis. How can they already increase the fares?”
When asked about public criticism of the price hike, an Uber spokesperson told HKFP: “The increase in the minimum fare will only result in a higher overall price for riders taking shorter trips, or those where the fee for the trip falls below the minimum fare. Riders travelling further, where the fee for the trip falls above the minimum fare, won’t see any change as a result of the fare increase.”
The spokesperson told HKFP that the minimum fare had been increased as a result of some Uber drivers’ requests for income protection, given that rides of short distances had previously taken up a lot of their time. The spokesperson said that the HK$5 booking fee will cover administrative costs incurred during the operation of the service.
The company had previously criticised Hong Kong for not updating its traffic laws and “failing to keep up with innovation.” In May, police arrested 21 Uber drivers on suspicion of carrying passengers illegally for reward and not having third-party insurance.
On Monday, Uber said that it is “committed to continue our investment here in Hong Kong.”