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Uber trials feature allowing Calif. drivers to set fares

Uber Technologies Inc. is trying out a feature in California that will allow drivers to set their fares, The Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 21.

The move is the latest effort by the ride-hailing company to give drivers more autonomy following the state's new gig-economy law.

Through the new feature, drivers who transport passengers from airports in Santa Barbara, Palm Springs and Sacramento can charge up to five times the fare Uber sets on a ride, the Journal said, citing a person involved in creating the feature.

A bidding system will reportedly let drivers increase fares in 10% increments, up to a maximum of five times Uber's set price. Uber will then match a passenger with the driver who has set the lowest price while drivers with higher fares will gradually be dispatched as more passengers request a ride, the report said.

Uber confirmed in an email that it is carrying out an "initial test" that "would give drivers more control over the rates they charge riders," according to the Journal.

Uber and delivery service provider Postmates Inc. have sued the state of California over the new law, alleging it violates the Constitution's equal protection and due process clauses. Uber, Lyft Inc. and DoorDash Inc. have also pledged $90 million to contest the law with a ballot measure this year.