Uber surge pricing could mean cab fares triple in some global cities on New Year's Eve. The fares are likely to reach a peak between midnight and 3am. While many cities will provide thousands of extra trains and buses to help revellers, large numbers will remain reliant on cabs.
Last year's celebrations saw many unpleasant surprises. Sydney is a case in point, particularly as right now many party goers there will be trying to get home. Last New Year a Sydney woman was billed for AUD$720 (£420, $520) for a trip that would normally have cost AUD$92 – the surge meant she was charged almost eight times as much as usual.
Another passenger spent AUD$213 to get from central Sydney to Coogee, a journey normally costing AUD$35.
Uber has warned customers to pay attention to its app's upfront fare estimate, to find out beforehand how much their trip this New Year will cost.
"If dynamic pricing is in effect, the app will show the fare estimate and the surge multiple that will apply to the fare and ask the rider to confirm before requesting. The goal is no surprises,'" spokeswoman Katie Curran told the local Herald Sun newspaper.
She explained that the New Year surge is not as bad as it sounds. Last year around 70% of trips had no surge pricing and only 10% were increased by a multiple of more than three.
Uber also suggests customers split rides to keep costs down. And it cautions passengers to check the driver's name and the car details to ensure they enter the right vehicle. Across Australia, Uber drivers anticipate a net profit of at least AUD$1,000 for around 10 hours
Across Australia, Uber drivers anticipate a net profit of at least AUD$1,000 for around 10 hours work in bigger cities over the New Year celebrations.Though newer drivers expressed excitement over the bonanza, some of their more experienced colleagues said driving on New Year's Eve was not worth the associated hassle or that they expected revenue to be disappointing.
Though newer drivers expressed excitement over the bonanza, some of their more experienced colleagues said driving on New Year's Eve was not worth the associated hassle or that they expected revenue to be disappointing.
However, Uber estimates that last year's global total of about five million passengers on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day will triple this year to 15 million.
With luck, the upfront fare estimate will do its job and fewer of it customers will be left seriously out of pocket. And Uber drivers should make the most of increased demand for their services – driverless cabs are likely to put many of them out of business in the coming decade.