Uber confirms minimum fare increase, booking fee for Kiwis

Uber confirms it has raised its minimum cost of a ride from $5 to $6.50.

The rise consists of a bump in the minimum fare from $5 to $5.95, plus the introduction of a new 55c booking fee.

A group of local Uber drivers recently threatened to strike but, given their status as contractors, their options were limited (although one employment lawyer saw possible angles).

"Following our recent roundtable listening discussions with driver-partners, we heard that an important improvement Uber could make to the driving experience would be increasing the minimum fare. As a result, we have raised the minimum fare in all New Zealand cities to $5.95," Uber Australia-New Zealand spokesman Caspar Nixon says.

"Uber is has introduced a 55c booking fee to assist with the costs associated with providing a safe, reliable ridesharing service. Riders see the booking fee in their receipt at the end of the trip."

The deep-pockets US company has made a similar move across the Tasman.

Cynics will say it's also an example of the fact that once Uber has established itself in a market, and got taxi companies on the backfoot, it can start to turn the screws on pricing.

Uber recently appointed Mitch Cooper as head of government relations for NZ — it's first significant local appointment. Mr Cooper formerly held the same role for Vodafone NZ.

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