Your next Uber trip could cost $50 an hour. Here’s why

COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on transportation

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Your next Uber trip could cost $50 an hour.

The ride-hailing company, hit hard by low demand in the coronavirus pandemic, said in a statement sent to FOX Business Friday that it’s rolling out a new flat-rate feature for riders that need multiple stops.

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With the “Hourly” function, passengers can set the estimated trip time, locking in the set rate, even if the trip takes less time. Riders can add up to three destinations for the trip.

Customers cannot, however, use the feature for trips to and from the airport and will be charged at a per-minute rate for trips that go over the time limit, or the per-mile rate for trips that go over the mileage limit, Uber said. The rates are prorated based on $50.

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Uber has allowed multi-destination tips since 2017, but the new feature comes as the COVID-19 pandemic forces travelers to reconsider public transportation and social distancing.

The company has been operating under new safety guidelines that require drivers and passengers to wear face covers as well as limiting the number of rides in one car.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly hard on Uber, which was forced to lay off more than 3,700 full-time employees, or 14 percent of its staff, earlier this month.

The company also reported a steep $2.9 billion loss in the first quarter of 2020, its biggest loss in three quarters. Shares have dropped a steep 10 on the year.

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The flat rate, initially tested in places like Australia, Africa and Europe, will become available in 12 U.S. cities: Atlanta; Chicago; Washington, DC; Dallas; Houston; Miami; Orlando; Tampa Bay; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Tacoma, Washington; and Seattle, with more in the weeks ahead.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment from FOX Business but said in the statement that it along with its safety measures, its “encouraging riders to continue following local health guidelines and travel only as necessary.”

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