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Uber responds to 'striking' Boston drivers

October 23, 2013: 3:06 PM ET

Some Uber drivers are upset about lower prices, but the company says that they actually are making more money than before.

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FORTUNE -- We're making it up with volume.

That seems to be the message Uber is sending to its UberX drivers in Boston, many of whom apparently are planning to 'strike' this afternoon by not picking up passengers. Their complaint is a recent fare cut, which slashed some prices by 30%. For example:

Source: Uber blog

Source: Uber blog

For the uninitiated, UberX is an on-demand ride service much like the traditional Uber, except with "regular" cars rather than black towncars or SUVs. Less luxury, lower cost. It also is the part of Uber that has come under the most competitive pressure from other VC-backed startups, most notably Lyft.

So it's been cutting its prices all over the place, including in Boston. An Uber spokeswoman declined to say if the UberX price changes affect service profitability, but disputes the notion that they are costing drivers money. Instead, she argues that they have increased usage so much that drivers actually are making more now than they were before.

RELATED: More details on Uber's massive funding round

From a related Uber blog post, which came after news of the 'strike' broke:

As we've seen in other cities, lower fares have resulted in greater gross income for the transportation providers we partner with. In fact, Boston's uberX drivers are earning 22% more per hour since Boston's uberX fares dropped a week ago. This additional income has also resulted in a 5% increase in the amount of time that drivers are spending on the system, resulting in 30% more income per week for drivers since our price cut last week.

It will be interesting to see if this data satisfies UberX drivers in Boston, who are said to number around 500.

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Dan Primack
Dan Primack
Senior Editor, Fortune

Dan Primack joined Fortune.com in September 2010 to cover deals and dealmakers, from Wall Street to Sand Hill Road. Previously, Dan was an editor-at-large with Thomson Reuters, where he launched both peHUB.com and the peHUB Wire email service. In a past journalistic life, Dan ran a community paper in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He currently lives just outside of Boston.

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