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.
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:
Last night I paid $83 for a 5 minute uber ride… What is the world coming to
— Riley Tegtmeyer (@RileyTeg) January 1, 2016
9.9x Uber surge here in Miami Beach right now… highest I've ever seen pic.twitter.com/oX0ZxftfI7
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 1, 2016
Stats paid $205 for an uber ride last night pic.twitter.com/VkL1KGgp31
— Cam Bussiere (@Cam_Bussiere) January 1, 2016
— James St Patrick (@JimmyQuetron) January 1, 2016
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.
— Julia Wong (@JWongGlobalNews) January 3, 2016
“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.