Uber to Make Surge Pricing Less Obvious
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Is Uber dropping the concept of surge pricing? Fat chance. However, Uber is taking steps to make surge pricing less glaring within its mobile apps.
You'll still be paying the same, high amount if you're trying to find an Uber during periods of high demand, but you might be more willing to take one if you just see a simple rate for the ride in Uber's app.
At least, we presume that's the real reason why Uber is now switching to "guaranteed fares" within its mobile apps. You'll still get a warning that said fare is higher "due to increased demand" if surge pricing applies. You'll just get one number, though, not a big, scary multiplier boosting the normal cost of your trip.
"We moved to upfront, per trip fares -- just like airlines and hotels -- two years ago when we launched uberPOOL. Riders needed to enter their destinations so we could match them with other people headed the same way. This allowed us to calculate the actual fare in advance and show it to riders before they booked their ride," reads Uber's blog post.
"Knowing how much a ride will cost in advance is clearly something riders appreciate: today uberPOOL accounts for over 20 percent of all rides globally. And we now want more riders globally to benefit from this feature."
As Engadget notes, these new upfront fares will allow a rider to feel assured that he or she is paying a set amount for an estimated trip, even if a driver mucks everything up and takes a completely different route to get to wherever a rider wanted to go. You won't have to pay extra if a driver gets lost, either.
"Upfront fares are calculated using the expected time and distance of the trip and local traffic, as well as how many riders and nearby drivers are using Uber at that moment. And when fares go up due to increased demand, instead of surge lightning bolts and pop-up screens, riders are given the actual fare before they request their ride. There's no complicated math and no surprises: passengers can just sit back and enjoy the ride," Uber describes.
Upfront fares are currently rolling out to an number of US cities, though Uber didn't detail a timeline for how long it would take all Uber riders to benefit from the new tweak.