As the New Year approaches, we once again look forward to the Uber surge. Prices during the busy period usually skyrocket so as to create a balance between supply and demand. People have complained of the surges being too high in the past but Uber argue that this is so that they can attract more drivers to deal with the demand. New Year’s Eve is a particularly busy time as people shuttle last minute from one point to the other. Last year it is said that fares rose up to three times the normal fares.
The surge in Uber fares tends to attract more drivers. They tend to arrive much faster because they feel motivated. There are however, other drivers who feel that they are overcharging the customers. The downside is that they cannot negotiate the fares with the customers because the fares have been set by Uber and the customer’s credit cards linked to the system.
There is yet another downside to the surge. Drivers tend to cancel bookings so that they can take advantage of the higher rates. There are clients that have reported up to five cancellations in one evening before ending up paying very high rates.
Both Uber and the drivers take home their share of the pudding, with Uber getting their 20% cut and the rest going to the drivers. The best thing for the customers, as New Year’s Eve approaches, is to brace themselves for the fare hikes. It is not known by how much the fares will shoot, and it also depends on the particular area.
There have been cases of Uber being accused of cutting down on the profit margins of their drivers as they become more established in the Australian cities. We cannot be sure who is fooling who in this case, and the best that we can do is sit back and watch.
Last year, the Uber Facebook page was filled with complaints from disgruntled customers. Many of them claimed to have been charged hundreds of dollars more than they are usually charged just to get them from the city to their homes. Most of the rides were after the fireworks that marked the beginning of the New Year. Most of the customers were not aware of the surcharge and were shocked when they used Uber services. This year, we will be a lot more vigilant because we know what to expect.
Do not expect any apologies from Uber. The fares will continue being hiked during the peak period of New Year’s Eve and the customers should be prepared to pay. Several Uber customers said that the fares that were charged last year were way higher than the fares that had been advertised. Uber however, claims that the fares were upfront as far as pricing was concerned. Despite complaints from the taxi industry, the NSW cabinet decided to legalize the Uber services. The taxi industry were set to receive compensation in the hundreds of millions of dollars.