From its arrival in Washington two years ago, the Uber car service has been a hit, but New Year’s Eve may leave a sour taste with users. That’s because Uber uses so-called “surge” pricing—rates that rise with the demand for cars—on a night when nobody wants to drive.
On Monday, Uber sent out a tip sheet so passengers won’t suffer sticker shock when using the service this year. “We’ll have a record number of cars on the road,” Uber says in an email message, “but, that doesn’t change one simple fact: on NYE, everyone wants to move around the city at exactly the same time!” To solve the problem, “we use surge pricing.”
Here’s a few of their tips:
- If you will be hit with a surge in price, the app will notify you in “big, bold print.”
- To confirm, you will be asked to enter the surge multiplier “to make sure you know what to expect.”
- A “fare split” feature will allow you to share the cost with other passengers who are Uber subscribers.
Here’s how they expect pricing to go throughout the festive evening:
- Before 8 PM, normal prices
- Between 8 and 10 PM, moderate surge
- Between 10:30 PM and 12:15 AM, prices may go down because “Ubers are everywhere right before the ball drops.”
- From 12:15 to 2:30 AM, expect the “most expensive” fares because “everyone is on the move at exactly the same time.”
- After 3 AM, prices will quickly drop . . . but will you even notice?