Uber Testing New 2-Minute Wait Rule Before Charging Passengers

PHOTO: Uber driver Dean Johnson waits for a customer outside South Station in Boston, April 22, 2016.PlayCraig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
WATCH Uber Testing Higher Fees for Passengers

Tardy Uber passengers may soon have to pay up.

The ride-hailing service is testing a new rule that requires passengers to pay more money if they keep the driver waiting for more than two minutes. The pilot program is taking place in Phoenix, Dallas, New Jersey and New York City. The amount customers will be charged for making a driver wait varies by city. New York's per minute rate is 35 cents.

But if a passenger is five minutes late, the driver would be paid for an extra three minutes of the ride.

"When a driver arrives promptly, we think it’s only fair that they’re compensated for their time," a blog post on Uber's website says. "While we encourage riders to only request a ride when they’re ready, we understand that sometimes they are running a little behind. In these cases drivers will be compensated for the extra minutes they need."

Customers will also now have a two-minute grace period -- down from five minutes -- to cancel the ride or risk incurring a small fee which Uber says differs by city.

"Our goal is to help riders and drivers connect quickly and easily so they can get on their way and we hope pilots like these give us the flexibility to test new ideas and improve the reliability of our platform," the company said.

Lyft, one of Uber's biggest competitors, has a five-minute cancellation policy before passengers are charged a fee between $5 and $10.