Uber Surge Pricing During NYC Blizzard, Maybe It’s Not So Bad?

Uber Surge Pricing

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared a state of emergency for New York City due to the storm which has been picking up during the day.

Along with the announcement that schools are already closed for tomorrow and drivers being advised to stay off of the streets if possible, Uber has a warning for us too.

Based on a poll that I recently ran, most of you understand and accept Uber Surge Pricing so this won’t bother you really. For others that don’t love the inflated prices, beware of Surge Pricing tonight 1/26/15!

There won’t be stories of 8x prices since the surge will be capped.

According to Uber,Due to the State of Emergency declared in New York City, prices will not exceed 2.8x the normal fare“.

Uber created a policy with New York’s Attorney General “that balances the goal of reliable transportation options with affordability during disasters“.

So how does this work? It actually sounds like a pretty reasonable plan and one that while pricier, might not be so crazy due to the situation. The money raised will also do some good, hence making Uber look good too. Win, win all around?

Here is Uber’s National Policy during disasters:

Anytime a disaster or state of emergency strikes, dynamic pricing is capped and all Uber proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross to support relief efforts. On your receipt, you will see a donation from Uber to the American Red Cross.

Uber also warns of:

  • Higher demand will bring longer wait times so be patient!
  • There will be limited destinations being served

I have to say that Uber’s disaster plan looks to keep some drivers working, earning a higher rate while (I’d assume) not have customers feel as bad since the proceeds will be going to charity. Interesting stuff…

I’m already home from work and school is cancelled for tomorrow so Uber will certainly not be a consideration for me.

Do you/ would you consider using Uber during the storm regardless of 2.8X Surge Pricing? How do you feel knowing that the money will be going to the Red Cross?

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6 thoughts on “Uber Surge Pricing During NYC Blizzard, Maybe It’s Not So Bad?

  1. They’re obligated to keep it low because of that agreement. Surely they would jack it higher if they could. And the Red Cross thing is just a red herring.

    I did find it interesting they skipped mentioning that roads would be closed after 11pm and that their drivers would be off as well.

  2. Let me make sure I understand, the portion that normally remains with UBER will be donated, not the entire surge increase.
    In the event of a blizzard it is not a homerun payout for the driver, drive time can be inordinately increased. I am willing to bet that at 2.8 many drivers will stay home.

  3. Here is what Uber should do: Rates for passengers should be capped at 2.8x or whatever the agreement is. Rates for drivers should follow the normal algorithm. If it got up to 8x or whatever, drivers should get paid that much. Uber should eat the difference in order to foster good will. In the grand scheme of things, it can’t be that much that they would be losing and this method keeps everyone happy and keeps drivers on the road if they are really needed.

    FYI, no actual surge pricing in lower manhattan right now.

  4. Wandering Aramean- I totally agree that they would raise the surge if not for the agreement but this option does seem to be fair… My guess would be that the Red Cross donation was one of the concessions made to get the deal done with the attorney general.

    I meant to mention how the roads would be closed at 11. Thanks for adding that!

    Charles- I’m not exactly sure… My guess is that Uber’s cut goes to the Red Cross. I think a driver going to work will depend on their need to work & make money as well as how they feel driving in crappy weather…

    Tom- Agreed- traffic is not really a bad thing. Interesting idea to have Uber cover the difference but why would they do that! If this was the case, they could just say the surge is lower… Thanks for letting us know that there is no surge. I wonder how long the wait time for a car is!

  5. NYS has legislated lack of Uber availability during this peak time.

    While before the price was clearly known before you ordered a car and cars were usually a few minutes away, now waits will be much, much longer, if cars are even available. Thanks government.

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