Uber has announced plans to start charging fare depending on the weight of the passenger, as one of the first steps for the overgrown startup that is trying to switch from philanthropy to profitability.
In the new update that is rolling out globally this week, passengers will be expected to state both their weight and their destination so as to know the fare estimate. The weight will remain valid for three months after which it will be subject to evaluation.
Uber drivers will be expected to show up at your pick up point armed with an improved kitchen scale, just in case your weight is in question. Passengers are supposed to cooperate with the driver when taking weight, with the company promising total confidentiality.
More Fare than Fare
Uber says the move will result in more transparency and fairness in its pricing policy. “4 passengers weighing 120 pounds each (55 kg) should not pay more than 3 passengers weighing 180 pounds each (80 kg),” said the firm’s communications office.
“We shall be applying a different combination of factors including the weight, distance and demand to come up with an friendly pricing that makes business sense.”
The move has been highly contested in places like South Korea where matters to do with weight are kept a top secret, while highly obese countries like the US term the move as a threat to national security.
In Kenya, the move was highly welcomed by Uber Chap Chap drivers who have always complained that their vehicles have a limited weight capacity, and that every kg matters.
While Uber claims that they are a transport company and that is an industry where weight matters, human rights activists have condemned the move saying that it amounts to ‘cargonization’ of human lives. They argue that the move was an insult to the dignity of life and must be stopped.
Uber says that the argument does not make sense and the current model where every person pays the same amount is similar to asking restaurants to charge the same amount of money for all the different types and quantities of food.