Uber has changed how transportation systems work. People have come to depend on ridesharing to get to and from work, run errands, and go out for a night on the town. Rideshare companies, like Uber and Lyft, capitalize on people’s dependency by utilizing surge pricing. It crops up during the busiest times of the day: rush hour, bar close, and bad weather in particular. With the holiday season right around the corner, people are equally in need of getting around, and surge pricing is at an all time high.
Surge pricing is dictated by demand, which is dictated by an algorithm. During periods of high demand, there are not enough drivers on the road to help riders. When the algorithm detects a rise in demand, prices begin to rise. Riders can choose to pay the higher rates or wait until the prices lower. Surge pricing is intended to attract drivers to the "in demand area" to help restore the balance and lower prices for riders.
Technically, Uber and Lyft do not institute surge pricing on the holidays as everything is now "upfront fares". However, the holidays are busy times for people, who are traveling all over with fewer drivers are on the road because they are also wanting to enjoy the holidays with their loved ones and choose to take a day off. The algorithm is always keeping track of demand. Prices tend to be higher on the holidays organically because there is a high demand for rides and fewer drivers on the road to fulfill those needs.
Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day are some of the busiest days for people wanting to make it to their family and friends events and parties. If you’re wanting to use a rideshare during the holidays, you’ll want to plan ahead or be prepared to pay higher rates. Keeping an eye on the rates within the app is a great way to see when the demand is rising or lowering. Some of the busiest times to avoid on the holidays are around noon, mid to late afternoon, and late evening. New Year’s Eve will always have high rates because people are coming and going to parties all night long. Bar close on New Year’s Eve is particularly expensive!
Rideshare platforms are a great way to get around this holiday season in a safe way while still having fun. While there are no set surge prices for the holidays, prices do tend to be higher in order to attract drivers to cover the high demand.