Uber drops prices and eases driver restrictions in New Zealand
A change to Uber's New Zealand processes means it's going to be cheaper for Kiwis to catch a ride.
On Thursday, the international app-based rideshare service said it was dropping its passenger fares in Auckland and Wellington.
The base fare has dropped 13 per cent, from $1.50 to $1.30 in Auckland. The rate charged per kilometre has also dropped from $1.85 to $1.35 in New Zealand's largest city.
In Wellington, the base fare will be 5 cents cheaper at $1.45 and the rate per kilometre has dropped from $1.85 to $1.45.
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The minimum fare will remain at $5 for both cities where Uber operates.
The news of the slightly lowered prices, which are subject to change during periods of high demand, comes as the company significantly lowers the cost of the registration process to become an Uber driver.
It will now cost $20 to become a driver in New Zealand, that's a massive drop from the previous cost of $2000.
And a registration process that once took three months to complete, would now take about six days.
The company has also removed the need for its drivers to have a commercial license.
Uber New Zealand city lead Richard Menzies said the best way to increase earnings was to boost demand for rides "and one of the most effective ways to boost demand is to lower prices for riders".
Menzies said drivers said it took too long and cost too much to become an Uber operator, so they made some changes.
Uber said the driver registration process would include a criminal history check via the Ministry of Justice, and a driving history check via the New Zealand Transport Agency.
GOVERNMENT BOWS TO TAXI INDUSTRY PRESSURE
The changes come as the Government announces it is stripping back some of the industry rules to put traditional taxis on a level playing field with the international app-based rideshare service.
Among the proposed changes: Taxi drivers will no longer have to have a full licence check every five years, they will be allowed to ditch panic alarms and won't need to prove their area knowledge.
But the Government insists passengers won't be unsafe as a result of the changes.
WHAT WILL UBER COST?
Base fare price drop:
Base: $1.50 to $1.30
Per min: $0.30
Per KM: $1.85 to $1.35
Minimum fare: $5
Base: $1.50 to $1.45
Per min: $0.50 to $0.35
Per KM: $1.85 to 1.45
Minimum fare: $5