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Uber test lets some drivers set their own fares

Drivers in three cities in California will get to try out the new feature.

Uber driver

Some Uber drivers in California may earn a little more money thanks to a new feature. 

Getty Images

Uber is testing a new feature that will give some drivers in California a chance to earn more money. The experiment comes after the state's gig-worker bill went into effect earlier this month.

Drivers in Santa Barbara, Palm Springs and Sacramento who pick up passengers from an airport can set their own fares instead of using the Uber-estimated fare, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. This is part of a test by the ride-hailing company to give drivers more control of their rates, which can increase up to five times the standard fare. 

"Since AB5 (Assembly Bill 5) has gone into effect, we've made a number of product changes to preserve flexible work for tens of thousands of California drivers," Uber said in an emailed statement Tuesday. "We're now doing an initial test of additional changes which would give drivers more control over the rates they charge riders."

Read more: The best dashcams in 2020  

California Assembly Bill 5, known as the gig-worker bill, passed in September and took effect Jan. 1. Companies such as Uber, Lyft and DoorDash that make use of independent contractors to handle their services will now be subject to a three-part test on whether the workers can be labeled as contractors or employees, which could entitle them to benefits like overtime pay and health insurance.

Leading up to the law taking effect, Uber sued the state of California, arguing that AB 5 is unconstitutional and unfairly targets gig economy companies and workers. Uber has also said the bill could put drivers out of work and result in longer wait times for passengers.