Just last night I noticed that UberX wanted to charge me a new $1 "Safe Rides Fee" on top of the usual fare. I clicked OK, because I needed to get home, and now in the cold light of day I find an explanation. I knew it couldn't stay so cheap forever.
Uber has added the new surcharge, as it turns out, in order to offset the costs of driver background checks, insurance, and motor vehicle checks. As they put it, the "increased costs associated with our continued efforts to ensure the safest platform for Uber riders and drivers." It may actually be directly off-setting the extended insurance policy the company got in response to that UberX driver who ran into and killed that little girl on New Year's Eve. UberX drivers are now insured for the entire duration of their time on the road while their Uber app is turned on, rather than just while they have a fare in their car, as CNET reports.
They may also just be copying Lyft, which already gets away with a $1 "Trust and Safety Fee," which goes to offset the same sort of costs.
Long story short, UberX is no longer cheaper than Lyft..