How do I avoid surge pricing? Any tips and tricks?
The Guru Take
Here are some tips.
First of all, read this article on the basics of surge pricing. It is important to remember that it's based on supply and demand.
As an individual, it's easy to assume you have no control over the supply (i.e. # of cars) and the demand (i.e. # of riders). While that may be true at a high level, you still can have effect on it. Here are a few tips:
- Be flexible with your travel time. Leaving the bar at a closing time? Why don't you leave a few minutes early before everyone floods the streets? Too late? Why don't you go for a brisk walk and kill a little time? Adjusting your travel time can have huge impact on surges. This is also true for rush hour, busy airport times, etc.
- Move locations. Are you in a busy neighborhood? Waiting at a bus station? Try walking and adjusting where you request a ride. While surges can cover an extended area, you never know where those areas end. If you suspect you can walk a few city blocks for more secluded areas, you may be off the hook from surges. (Sorry drivers!)
- Know your surges. Planning for a trip? Check the potential surges in advance. Are you traveling next Tuesday? Why not check potenetial surge the week before? If you know that surges are possible, you can do more to prep!
- Look for alternatives. Taxi anyone? If Uber is surging, check Lyft. If Lyft is surging, check other rideshares. Also look into traditional taxis where the prices are regulated and are not subject to surges.
There are apps and tricks out there to check the current surges, say downloading Uber's Driver app, but we have not really heard great success with those. Of course, try RideGuru's comparison tool to look for the best price!