Your next order of pad thai could get a lot more expensive if you order it from Uber's food delivery service, UberEats. The company announced its plans to bring the infamous surge pricing feature to UberEats on Thursday (27 October) and start charging extra for deliveries made in select cities if they are made during times of high demand when fewer couriers are on the road.
"This way, [UberEats users will] still be able to order from the same variety of restaurants they love with fast delivery times," Uber product manager Ben Dreier wrote in a blog post titled, 'Delivery at Uber speed, even when it's busy.'
An arrow below the restaurant name in the UberEats app will alert customers about the additional fee. The exact amount will show up above the menu and as a separate line item before checkout as well as on the order receipt.
UberEats' new pricing model will be rolled out in certain US cities including Phoenix, Houston, Dallas, DC, Miami and Atlanta. The company did not specify if and when it plans to expand surge pricing to other US and international cities yet.
"The extra money from these orders goes toward financial incentives for delivery partners as well as our other operational costs," he added. "These partner incentives look at past patterns and aim to predict where and when there will be high demand and to encourage more people to get on the road in these locations."
Uber's latest move comes around eight months after the popular ride-hailing company launched its food delivery service as a standalone app. Since then, UberEats has expanded to dozens of other cities and is currently operating in 43 cities around the world, including London.
Uber's controversial surge feature has drawn flak from users in the past with rates soaring as high as six to eight times the price of a normal fare, particularly during bad weather, major events or holidays including Christmas or New Year's Eve. The company recently introduced a new version of its app that displays an upfront, guaranteed fare, saying users appreciate knowing how much a ride will cost in advance as opposed to estimating how much it will cost them during peak hours.
"This is an important step to ensure the reliability of our network and continue to offer the same selection and speed UberEats is known for," Dreier said. "As always, we'll be listening to feedback and working on additional improvements in the coming weeks and months. It's all part of our commitment to create a delivery network that meets the unique needs of every city we serve."