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New Year’s Eve surge pricing enrages Uber users; one man hit with $1,100 fare

Published Jan 4th, 2016 3:05PM EST
New Year's Eve Uber Surge Pricing

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Uber has become a staple in markets where it’s available, offering people a simplified alternative to taxi cabs at what are typically competitive prices. Sometimes, however, Uber’s prices can skyrocket due to its surge pricing policy, which drives up prices in busy areas where Uber cars are in high demand. It goes without saying that New Year’s Eve was going to be a pricey night to use Uber, but the company’s customers weren’t prepared for just how much prices would be inflated. Now, horror stories are sweeping the Internet as some users report having to pay as much as 10 times normal rates without what they perceived as fair warning.

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Uber has released a statement claiming that 60% of New Year’s Eve rides were not affected by surge pricing, but that doesn’t make the evening’s inflated fares sting any less for people who had to pay them. Reports state that surge pricing climbed to as high as between 8.9 and 9.9 times the company’s typical rates in some cities. And since the Uber app’s fare estimator wasn’t working properly for many users on the night of December 31st, some people were hit with sky-high fares that they didn’t see coming.

Here are some examples of customer complaints:

But those figures are tame compared to what happened to Canada native Matt Lindsay on New Year’s Eve. CBC News reports that after Lindsey hailed an Uber for an hour-long ride with multiple stops, he ended up getting slammed with a bill for $1,114.71.

“I was very shocked at the price,” the man said. “I would have realized this was getting out of hand and we should reconsider the rate.” He noted that Uber is generally very affordable in Edmonton, where he lives.

Check out our post from this past summer for a free app that will help you avoid Uber’s surge pricing when you need a ride during a busy time.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.