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Uber seen upping fee it charges new drivers in SF to 25%

Drivers for the peer-to-peer car service are increasingly being hit with pay cuts and raised costs, according to an Uber notification posted to Reddit.

Notification Uber sent to San Francisco drivers saying "UberX commission is 25% for partners activated on or after September 2nd, 2014." Reddit user dissedinchicago

Uber has long charged its drivers a 20 percent or less commission, but it appears those numbers are rising.

A screenshot posted to a Reddit driver forum says all new Uber drivers coming on board in San Francisco after September 2 will be charged a 25 percent commission. This would be the highest commission the ride-sharing service has charged drivers to date.

This news, which was first reported by Forbes, comes at a time when drivers are being hit with other raised costs and pay cuts.

An increased commission would mean lowered pay for all new San Francisco UberX drivers, which is the tier of drivers who use their own civilian vehicles to give rides. It's unclear if Uber will start charging its veteran drivers 25 percent and if the raised commission will spread to drivers in other cities.

According to Forbes, a basic fare that used to earn a San Francisco Uber driver $9 and cost the passenger $11 will now go down to just $6.80 pay for the driver and a $9.50 cost for the passenger. The passenger pay is less due to fare slashing in San Francisco over the summer. All said, that adds up to a $6,240 yearly loss to a San Francisco driver that works 40 hours a week doing three rides an hour.

In July, Uber lowered the price of its UberX fares in New York City by 20 percent. Instead of shouldering the fare cut, Uber instead put the cost on its drivers. So, a fare that used to cost $19 and net a driver $15.20 changed to a cost of $15 for the passenger and an earnings of $12 for the driver. Uber said at the time the lowered fares would still benefit drivers because they would see higher demand.

"What we've seen in cities across the country is that lower fares mean greater demand, lower pickup times and more trips per hour -- increasing earning potential and creating better economics for drivers," the company wrote in a blog post. "What does what mean in the long run? They'll be making more than ever!"

The company also temporarily dropped fares by 25 percent for passengers in dozens of other cities around the US. While Uber initially said the decreased fares were for a "limited time only," it has since said they're "here to stay" in a handful of cities, including San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, and more.

Uber is also taking other actions that cut into driver's pay. The company gives drivers an iPhone 4S for picking up passengers -- it used to be free, but now Uber is reportedly charging $10 a week for the device, including an initial $100 deposit, according to Forbes. Additionally, the company's $1 per ride reimbursement it used to give drivers ended on August 31.

Drivers haven't kept quiet about their frustration with the company. Besides growing protests in New York City and San Francisco, the ride sharing service has also been hit with a class action lawsuit.

The suit has two main claims. One: the company allegedly pockets a percentage of gratuities often included in passenger fares. Two: by classifying drivers as independent contractors, rather than employees, the company allegedly saddles drivers with an unfair amount of costs -- such as vehicle maintenance, insurance, and gas.

While Uber drivers appear to be continually taking pay cuts, the company seems to be doing well. It's currently in 45 countries and more than 200 cities. It's also the most valued venture-backed company in the world, with a valuation of $18.2 billion.

CNET contacted Uber for comment. We'll update the story when we get more information.