Uber Surge Pricing on NYE, Should Riders Be Annoyed?

Uber Surge Pricing

With New Year’s Eve being a crazy night for drinking and partying, Uber’s Surge Pricing was bound to make an appearance.

The thing I’ll say is that Uber did a good job sending out e-mails and letting customers know in advance about the coming surge.

I decided to write a post about this as a warning, BEWARE: Uber Surge Pricing Tonight, New Year’s Eve.

After posting about pricing for Uber rides on NYE, I wondered if people would have a real gripe if charged an exorbitant price for their ride.

Knowing Uber’s practices, I don’t feel that it is exactly right but with surge pricing it’s all about supply & demand. With more need for drivers, Uber entices them to work by offering better pay via Surge Pricing.

I still feel that it reeks of price gouging, but it is what it is.

As expected, many people were taken on overly pricey New Year’s Eve Uber rides.

In an article from the New York Daily News, they write about “Outraged Uber passengers post fare receipts on social media“.

Here are some Uber receipts from the Daily News post:

A 13.86 mile ride for $148.24:

Uber Surge Pricing

A 10 minute ride for $117.51:

Uber Surge PricingI’m not sure about the details of the ride below, but at least they got one thing right by writing Safety first? They also used the hashtag #stillcheaperthanaDUI:

Uber Surge PricingAnd then there was this angry customer:

Uber Surge Pricing

Did you hear about any New Year’s Eve Uber horror stories?

I have to say once again, Uber was clear about Surge Pricing. The customers also clearly did agree to the higher price. Do these passengers really have a right to be upset?

Check out the Daily News article here.

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10 thoughts on “Uber Surge Pricing on NYE, Should Riders Be Annoyed?

  1. Carlos- That’s crazy! I am pretty sure that someone mentioned there being an app which shows where to request a ride to void the surge. My guess though is that during busy times cars won’t be found in these areas.

  2. The way that surge pricing works is if there are not enough drivers on a particular zone then that zone implements surge pricing, there are stories of driver waiting outside the zone till they got pin from inside the zone (1 block away) to then go into the zone and pick up passengers, in Louisville downtown the surge pricing was 8.9x with very little drivers downtown but drivers just outside downtown. A ride that had a standard cost of $32.00 ended up being $285.00, this is call taking advantage of customers, from now on I will be very careful when using Uber and if I have to use during peak hours, will find a way to game the system just like Uber is doing

  3. Jon- I was more so, pointing out that Mike Chan’s comparison did not make sense. I didn’t bring up holidays. Based on my limited times using Uber, it seems to be close to the price of a cab or more but never lower. I’ve heard others tell me that Uber seems to offer a fair price generally speaking. When it comes to Surge Pricing, the amount being charged seems to be a bit crazy. Should a 2 minute ride cost $90? Should a busy night cause a ride to cost 8x the usual amount? I don’t know but it doesn’t seem right. At least Uber gave fair warning though…

  4. Warren- Definitely some interesting points. Thanks for the comment. Restaurants do not raise their prices randomly based on being busier one night to the other. NYE or holidays like Mother’s Day are certainly treated a bit differently though. Uber is a target because they will and can bring on the surge at just about any time.

    LR- The way I looked at it is similar to you (minus calling upset people stupid). I feel that this year Uber made sure to be clear and warn potential passengers in advance of the surge. If you accept the surge then prepare to pay a whole lot more $$$. Do I feel it is right, not really but I am also not a big Uber user.

    Mike Chan- Uber should offer the option to deny the surge and wait it out if they desire. However, I’m not getting your point comparing Uber and surge pricing to booking a Southwest flight. Does Uber offer the option to book a ride 2 months in advance for a lower price? 🙂

    1. Michael W – you are implying that Southwest will allow you to book two months out and get the same price on a holiday as a non-holiday travel date whereas Uber does not. This is simply NOT the case. Frequently, Southwest and other airlines do not offer the most economical fares on the holiday (or the immediate travel dates before or after) with fares being substantially higher than other dates. Nevertheless, most consumers do not get all worked up and scream that they have been gouged. Likewise, Delta and others only offer awards at 3X and more than the regular award price, again tantamount to gouge pricing. They do it cause they know people will pay. What’s even more egregious is that the airlines will still go out with empty seats and refuse to offer seats at the “regular” or saver rate even when it is obvious the demand to fill the planes is not there. Uber on the other hand adjusts the price closer to the standard if they have a surplus of drivers. Seems to me Uber is held to a higher standard and is criticized more vehemently for no reason!

  5. Maybe Uber should offer a way to decline surge pricing and wait for a driver willing to work for regular pricing. Then people can just wait until 4 am for their ride, but not pay so much.

    My response to people who post stuff like that is as follows. Try to book a Southwest flight from LAX to OAK for a Friday night two months from now. Then try to book the same flight for this coming Friday.

  6. NO.

    I use uber almost everyday and the surge is CLEARLY communicated. The fact that people get upset at a surge is understandable, but those who get upset AFTER they accept the fare, are just plain stupid.

  7. Surge pricing exists in many industries. Theaters charge far more for Friday and Saturday nights than for a Wednesday matinee. Restaurants jack up their prices New Years Eve. Sports teams change their prices depending on the day and level of competition. Yet, I don’t hear the same level of complaint. I guess Uber is an easy target. If you don’t want to pay, take a cab. Oh wait, you can’t find one on New years Eve. But you can find an uber car. You know why? Supply and demand works.

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