How to get around Uber’s surge pricing

Looking to get around Uber’s surge pricing? Simply walk a few blocks or wait a few minutes, researchers say. Users know that Uber’s surge pricing is in effect when ordering a car from their smartph…

Sourced through Scoop.it from: nypost.com

Looking to get around Uber’s surge pricing? Simply walk a few blocks or wait a few minutes, researchers say.  Users know that Uber’s surge pricing is in effect when ordering a car from their smartphone and their app reports: “Demand is off the charts! Fares have increased to get more Ubers on the road.”  But it doesn’t always work that way, according to researchers at Northeastern University who studied the car-hailing service in New York and San Francisco.  Some drivers purposely avoid surge-pricing areas on the assumption fewer customers will pay the higher rate.

The study also cited anecdotal evidence of “collusion.” That is when drivers in a specific area purposely go offline to set up a supply “shortage,” which in turn creates a price surge.  For customers, though, gaming the Uber algorithm is even easier. The study found 40 percent of surges last only five minutes, and 70 percent are over in 10. This means waiting is saving.  But for those short on time, a normal fare could be just a block away. New York, for example, has 16 surge areas — each with its own price, depending on customer demand inside any one area’s perimeter.

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