Uber has rolled out a busy-area fee for orders in Auckland and Wellington during peak times but the additional charge could be just one of three it implements, as it has in other markets.
In a email this morning, Uber announced it had rolled out a busy-area fee in Auckland which would come into effect during times of high demand such as during peak times in the evenings and on the weekends.
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Alongside the delivery fee, the busy-area fee increases in 50 cents increments from the start of a busy period, dependent on how many orders a restaurant is receiving and how many drivers are on the road and available to deliver an order at any given time determines the price of the final fee.
The busy-area fee is determined by an algorithm which manages supply and demand in the marketplace - not just how many orders are coming in.
Depending on how busy restaurants and drivers are in a certain area determines what the "increase premium" would look like, Uber Eats NZ country manager Andy Bowie told the Herald.
"Even though Saturday at 7pm may be really busy from an order volume, we may also have a lot of delivery partners out on the street as well and be able to facilitate that but again, that's the times where you will expect it," Bowie said.
"Being able to use pricing as a lever to maintain that reliability similar to other industries like airlines and hotels has meant that we've been able to keep that more often and make sure people are getting their food."
The fee was designed to maintain reliability and a premium menu selection for Uber Eats users, Bowie said, and there were no set areas in Auckland where users could expect to pay the additional charge.
"We know that hangry (hungry come angry) is a real thing and we want to make sure that eaters are able to get their food when they press a button every time, and as quick as possible."
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In the United States, Uber Eats customers also have to pay a service fee and small order fee if an order is below US$10 - on top of a delivery fee and a busy area fee if it is a busy period.
Bowie could not confirm whether or not the busy-area fee would be the only additional charge Uber Eats rolls out in New Zealand.
He said the busy-area fee was the only change it would make at present but said the San Francisco-based ridesharing company was always looking at how it could make Uber Eats as fast and reliable as possible.
"We don't have a timeline for that and we will make that decision on whether it is right for our market or not. New Zealand is different to other places around the world so there is no timeline on either of those yet."
In addition to the busy-area fee, Uber has also rolled out a new delivery partner surge feature for Auckland drivers which will allow them to earn more in busy times.
Uber Eats first rolled out the busy-area fee to Wellington about a year ago.
Bowie said Uber decided to introduce the fee to Auckland - a generally busier market - after Wellington as it wanted to test how it was received and worked in this country.
"The Eats business in New Zealand is only two years old so we definitely want to make sure we understand what the local market wants and how it behaves.
"We started in Wellington to be able to learn as much as we could before we start to roll it out further."
Uber Eats operates in six cities in New Zealand including Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin and about 2000 restaurants signed on to the platform.