Ride-sharing company Uber confirms it is cutting prices for Victorian passengers by 15 per cent, prompting complaints from several drivers.
The Victorian Government is considering whether or not to legalise the ride-sharing service but said it would not be rushed.
Uber is already legal in the ACT and New South Wales.
Uber driver Jeff told 774 ABC Melbourne radio that he got an email stating there had been a change to his service agreement and a price drop.
He said the cut would lead to a loss of quality because drivers would be getting less.
Jeff cited the example of a $6 fare being cut to $5.25, which would lead to a “direct cut to drivers”.
“At this stage I’m looking at other options. I haven’t done a complete analysis of the numbers but I would say anything over a 10-minute drive to a pickup will now be cut,” he said.
Another driver, also named Jeff, who works mainly in the city, was dismayed to hear about the price cut because he has just quit his job to drive for Uber full time.
“I know it’s to get more drivers on the road, more consistency but it makes it difficult,” he said.
“If you go out for a few hours you’re going to get less money, so it’s not good for full-time drivers.
Matt Denman, the general manager for Uber in Victoria, confirmed the price cut but said it would increase demand, meaning drivers would be paid more.
“We’re actually putting in place a $30 an hour fare guarantee over all hours over the next few weeks as the market adjusts to these price changes,” he said.
“We’re seeing average earnings are over $30 an hour in fares.”
He offered to speak to Jeff to talk through the implications of the price cut.
But 774 ABC Melbourne’s Jon Faine took Mr Denman to task for operating an “illegal” service and undercutting regular taxies, sparking a price war.
“It’s just a sweetener to make it look like you care,” Mr Faine said.
Mr Denman denied that.
“We absolutely do care. Uber doesn’t function without drivers. Keeping earning reliably high is super important to us,” Mr Denman replied.