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Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Uber will begin experimenting next week with a new pricing scheme in 10 U.S. cities aimed at shifting ride-hailing demand away from city centers — and making more off each ride that does originate in an urban core.

Why it matters: Uber, like its rival Lyft, is under pressure to show it can turn a profit, and drivers have long complained of falling or inconsistent earnings. The move could help address both concerns while also nodding to criticism that ride-sharing apps have exacerbated urban congestion.

How it works:

  • Rates will go up by about 5% for trips starting in city centers and decrease by about 10% for those starting in outer areas.
  • This applies both to driver earnings and passenger fares.
  • The cities: Charlotte, Phoenix, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Honolulu, Cleveland, Charleston, Richmond, Nashville, and Grand Rapids.

What they're saying:

We are testing raising prices near city centers, where it’s busier and harder to get a ride, while decreasing prices in surrounding areas — including in neighborhoods with fewer transportation options — to help riders request more trips. The goal of this pilot is to improve reliability in the busiest parts of these cities, while making it more affordable to use Uber outside the city center. 
— Uber spokesperson

Yes, but: Fare cuts have historically not been a pleasant PR experience for Uber. Its (now-defunct) annual January cuts were usually met with protests from drivers who felt they were being short-changed so the company could grow its bottom line.

  • And as with some fare cuts in the past, there's a chance this may not have the desired effect everywhere.

Go deeper

2 mins ago - Health

CDC strengthens COVID booster recommendation

Rochelle Walensky. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday strengthened its previous recommendation for booster shots, saying that everyone 18 and older "should" receive a booster dose.

Why it matters: Last month, CDC director Rochelle Walensky accepted a key advisory committee's recommendation that adults "may" get the shot. The slight, but significant, change comes amid the emergence of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

4 hours ago - World

Scoop: Iran preparing to enrich weapons-grade uranium, Israel warns U.S.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi holds a press conference. Photo: Presidency of Iran handout via Getty

Israel has shared intelligence over the past two weeks with the U.S. and several European allies suggesting that Iran is taking technical steps to prepare to enrich uranium to 90% purity — the level needed to produce a nuclear weapon, two U.S. sources briefed on the issue tell me.

Why it matters: Enriching to 90% would bring Iran closer than ever to the nuclear threshold. The Israeli warnings come as nuclear talks resume in Vienna, with Iran returning to the negotiating table on Monday after a five-month hiatus.

Biden: Fight against Omicron won't include "shutdowns or lockdowns"

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden on Monday said that the new coronavirus variant, Omicron, is "a cause for concern, not a cause for panic."

Driving the news: Biden said later this week the administration will be releasing a strategy on how "we're going to fight COVID this winter. Not with shutdowns or lockdowns, but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing and more."