Uber expected New Year’s Eve to be its biggest night ever and planned to deliver 2 million rides on the holiday. When there’s high demand for Uber vehicles on days like New Year’s Eve, though, there’s also bound to be surge pricing, a feature most Uber users aren’t crazy about, Business Insider said.
Surge pricing happens when there’s a high demand for Uber vehicles in a particular area. During times of high demand — on weekend nights, on holidays, or during bad weather — Uber enacts surge pricing, which charges a multiplier on every fare during busy times. Uber says that by raising its prices, it encourages its drivers to get out on the road to keep up with increased demand, the report said.
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Uber will never spring surge pricing on you without you consciously acknowledging what you’re paying for. When surge pricing is happening, you’ll be notified before you can even hail the car. Uber’s app puts it in big, bold print so you can’t miss it. And when surge pricing rates are more than double, customers have to type in the multiplier to make sure they know what to expect, according to Business Insider.
Of course, this doesn’t stop people from complaining about surge pricing. However, people are far less justified in their complaints when surge pricing is introduced to get people home from bar crawls or holidays that encourage people to go out. Of course, that doesn’t stop irate customers from screenshotting their Uber bill and posting it on Instagram or Twitter in outrage, Business Insider said.
On days after holidays when demand for Uber is high, sticker-shocked customers complain about their Uber bills. For instance, one woman in Baltimore awoke the day after Halloween to discover she had taken a $362, 20-minute Uber ride the night before and didn’t have enough money to pay her rent. She posted a screenshot of her bill on Instagram and ended up crowdfunding $512 on GoFund.Me the next day, the report said.
In light of complaints from angry customers, Uber pulled out all the stops this week to let its customers know what to expect on New Year’s Eve. On Tuesday, Uber published a blog post telling customers when to expect to pay more for surge pricing, Business Insider said.
Uber also sent out an email to customers in New York City (and presumably in other markets, too) called “Read Before You Ride: How to Avoid Expensive Fares on New Year’s.” In it, Uber pretty explicitly laid out how you should go about planning your Uber ride so you can avoid high surge prices, the report said.
It’s nice of Uber to do this, but the company shouldn’t have to apologize for surge pricing.
Uber is a relatively new and quickly growing business. It does not have any sort of responsibility to its customers to keep prices low. It is trying to make money, as companies often want to do, and Uber was expected to generate more than $100 million in revenue on New Year’s Eve, Business Insider said.