News & Politics

Uber Issues a New Year’s Eve Warning: Expect High Prices

The taxi and black car service says it will use surge pricing on the holiday.

Expect surge pricing on Uber rides this New Year's Eve. Photograph via Shutterstock.

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?