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Uber to penalise riders who keep drivers waiting

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Ride-hailing service Uber will join rival Grab in charging a penalty fee on riders who keep their drivers waiting for too long.

RIDE-HAILING service Uber will join rival Grab in charging a penalty fee on riders who keep their drivers waiting for too long.

Starting Wednesday, Uber will charge a 20 Singapore cent-per-minute penalty fee on riders after drivers have been waiting for three minutes at the pick-up location. The Wait Time penalty charges stop accruing when drivers swipe the "Start Trip" button to begin the journey.

After waiting for five minutes, drivers have the option of cancelling the trip and receiving the cancellation fee.

Wait Time fees will be subject to the standard Uber service fee as well as to surge pricing, Uber's mechanism for raising rates when demand is higher.

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The penalty will only apply to rides on Uber's uberX, XL, Exec and ExecLarge services. The uberPOOL, uberCARSEAT and uberASSIST services are not eligible for the fee yet.

Grab, Uber's biggest rival in Singapore, currently begins imposing a waiting time penalty after a driver has been waiting for five minutes. Thereafter, the late rider is charged S$3 for every five-minute block.

Uber said its move was in response to feedback from frustrated drivers, and seeks to compensate them for time spent waiting.

To its customers, Uber said: "When you request a ride, our driver-partners make the effort to arrive at your pick-up location on time. As a rider, we'd like to encourage you to only request a ride when you're near the pick-up location and ready to meet the driver."