A report published this week indicated that Uber is giving select drivers the ability to set their own prices as part of a test created in response to California's new gig-economy law.
Uber drivers in Palm Springs, Sacramento, and Santa Barbara have been given the ability to determine their own fares, according to The Wall Street Journal, as part of an Uber test designed to "give them more autonomy in response to the state's new gig-economy law." These drivers now have the option to charge passengers up to five times what Uber determines as the ride price.
This feature makes drivers part of a bidding system which gives those with the lowest prices the first customers. As a result, Uber claims that such a feature gives the drivers more autonomy, therefore allowing them to continue to be classified as independent contractors rather than as employees.
The tool complements the changes Uber made in December for its California workers; drivers can now see trip information before they accept it, reject trips without punishment and be selected as user favorites if given a 5-star rating.
According to the report, the ability of drivers to determine fares is an "initial test." Whether the feature will roll out to other regions or remain in the state of California remains unknown.