SINGAPORE - Uber passengers who are tardy in meeting their drivers will now be charged a wait-time fee.
In a pilot which started on Wednesday (Oct 4), the ride-hailing service will levy a 20-cent per minute charge on passengers, if their drivers have to wait longer than three minutes at the pick-up location.
The additional fee, to be paid to the driver, will be pro-rated according to when the passenger finally boards the ride.
For example, if a passenger arrives 30 seconds after the wait-time charge kicks in, the fee will be 10 cents.
Uber Singapore said on its Facebook page a day before the launch: "Our aim is to give our riders and driver-partners a smooth Uber experience, every time. To ensure that our driver-partners get their due for the time spent on the road, we're introducing wait-time charges."
Uber also explained on its website that passengers will be sent a notification on their mobile devices when their assigned drivers are reaching the location. It has advised customers to only make a booking when they are near the pick-up location and ready to take the ride.
The 20-cent per minute charge applies to the UberX budget-price service. This charge is higher for Uber's more premium services, such as UberEXEC, the luxury car option, and UberXL, to book larger cars which can seat up to six passengers.
For UberEXEC, the wait-time charge is 45 cents a minute, while for UberXL, it is 35 cents a minute.
Uber has also stated on its website that the wait-time fees are subject to surge pricing but did not elaborate further.
Uber's rival in Singapore, Grab, imposes a similar charge on tardy passengers. The grace period is five minutes, after which a $3 surcharge is applied for every five-minute block.
Both ride-hailing services also penalise passengers for cancelling a booking. Grab allows passengers to cancel up to two rides a week, but imposes a $5 fee from the third cancellation onwards.
Uber allows customers to cancel for free for up to four minutes after the initial booking request is made. Following this, there will be a $6 cancellation charge. Uber's new wait-time charge will only apply to trips which are fulfilled.
The Straits Times is checking on whether there are penalties imposed when drivers are late.