Understandably, on the New Year’s Eve lots of people were out till late night and thought the taxi hailing service like Uber was the safest way to get back home. But, Uber proved them wrong by charging as much as $400 or more for just under 30-minute rides.
But, on the other side, there were also customers who seemed to agree that the surge pricing was a better alternative compared to drunken driving and a DUI ticket. But, most people felt Uber was simply taking undue advantage of people who tried to be responsible.
On the other hand, Uber stated on its website that surge pricing is a measure to ensure reliability. The website statement went on to say that there is a limited number of drivers that the company connect the customer with when there is a demand surge. The surge prices help in making more drivers available. Uber also stated that pricing is clearly notified, and it is only when the customers accept the higher pricing that a driver is connected to the customer.
Some customers also opted for the standard taxi services that offer stable pricing and is more regulated compared to services like Uber. Some others used the social media to vent their ire.
But, despite the protests on surge pricing, ride-sharing companies did roaring business ferrying the New Year revelers safely back home in many cities around the nation. Notably, these ride-sharing companies have been growing in popularity particularly after they started offering the convenience of hailing taxis through a smartphone app.
Uber uses the surge pricing in most cities around the world where they operate. The company defends the surge pricing stating that customers always have the option of not accepting the higher prices and looking elsewhere to hire a cab.
Uber also stated that about 60% customers across the U.S. paid regular fares on the New Years Eve. However, it went on to say that between 12.01 and 12.30 a.m. the demand spiked by as much as 250% which was 70% more than last year. At the peak, there was 165 drop offs every second which was dramatically higher than 85 trips per second in the previous year.
Uber had also published a guide for New Year’s Eve rides explaining price surges and recommended calling for a ride early on in the night as well as immediately past midnight to avoid the maximum surge prices. Uber added that a fare estimate is also given to customers before they confirm a ride.