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Uber rides will be cheaper this month in 48 cities, including L.A.

Uber rides will be cheaper this month in 48 cities, including L.A.
Uber announced that it's responding to the annual January slowdown in business by cutting fares to woo more riders. (Eric Risberg / Associated Press)

Have you noticed your Uber fares are a little lower than usual? Depending on where you live, you might.

App-based ride service Uber says it's cutting fares in 48 cities around the country during what the company calls the January slump. "We want to boost demand so more people will request a ride with Uber," said spokesman Michael Amodeo.

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Starting Friday (Jan. 16) in Los Angeles, for example, rides cost 20% less, Amodeo says. He gives the example of an $11 ride from Hollywood to downtown L.A. now costing $9.

Seasonal prices vary by location, and Uber isn't saying how long they'll last. They went into effect Jan. 9 in most cities.

In California, Uber riders can expect to save on fares in Orange County, Palm Springs, Sacramento, San Diego, Santa Barbara, the Inland Empire, Fresno and Modesto. The fare cuts don't affect Uber rides in Chicago, New York City and San Francisco.

The company has been criticized in the past for cutting prices without compensating drivers for their lost pay. This time around, Uber says it's giving drivers a guaranteed hourly rate. In L.A., drivers will receive $20 an hour, and $26 an hour during peak times.

Competitor Lyft, when asked, says it's cutting fares in some markets but nothing as sweeping as what Uber is doing.

"We are temporarily lowering prices in a select few markets (not across the board) to keep Lyft as busy as possible for drivers during the winter months," a spokeswoman said in an email.

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