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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.

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Biden holds first phone call with Putin, raises Navalny arrest

Putin takes a call in 2017. Photo: Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty

President Biden on Tuesday held his first call since taking office with Vladimir Putin, pressing the Russian president on the arrest of opposition leader Alexey Navalny and the Russia-linked hack on U.S. government agencies, AP reports.

The state of play: Biden also planned to raise arms control, bounties allegedly placed on U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the war in Ukraine, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who said the call took place while she was delivering a press briefing. Psaki added that a full readout will be provided later Tuesday.

Biden signs racial equity executive orders

Joe Biden prays at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on September 3, 2020, in the aftermath of the police shooting of Jacob Blake. PHOTO: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed executive orders on housing and ending the Justice Department's use of private prisons as part of what the White House is calling his “racial equity agenda.”

The big picture: Biden needs the support of Congress to push through police reform or new voting rights legislation. The executive orders serve as his down payment to immediately address systemic racism while he focuses on the pandemic.