5 Ways to Beat Uber Surge Pricing So You Don’t Overpay for Your Next Ride
After a great night out, the last thing you want to do is deal with Uber surge pricing and fork over 10 times the regular fee to get home safely.
“Surge pricing” frustrates many users because it’s hard to tell how much you’ll end up spending when rides are in high demand.
But you don’t always have to pay surge fares.
Savvy riders know how to get around price fluctuations and avoid peak times to spend less on their way around town.
Below are a few of their favorite tips for avoiding Uber surge pricing.
7 Ways to Beat Uber Surge Pricing
1. Time Your Uber Right
Kevin Adkins from Kenmore Law Group in Los Angeles told The Penny Hoarder in 2016 that he uses Uber not only for his own travel but also for clients.
“A way to avoid surge pricing is by planning your travels at times when surge pricing is not in effect,” Adkins explains.
Surge pricing occurs when the demand for drivers suddenly increases, like during bad weather or when it’s rush hour. Ride prices increase because there are more riders than available drivers.
So when should you request a ride?
“In my experience, 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. are the worst in terms of pricing because there is high demand for Uber,” Adkins says. “If you can wait just 10 minutes, regular pricing may come into effect again.”
Another common peak time is when bars close for the night.
By waiting just a few minutes (or heading home a few minutes before the rush), many Uber users are able to duck the worst of the surge pricing.
2. Use Another Type of Uber
Different types of Uber services have different surges, says Harry Campbell, an Uber driver who runs The Ride Share Guy, a blog and podcast for rideshare drivers and passengers.
He points out that different types of Uber services have different surges. Shopping around the offerings can often save you some cash.
“Each level of service surges independently,” says Campbell. “So, if you normally take UberX and there’s a 3x surge, you would actually save money by taking UberSelect (normally around 2.5x the price of UberX) and you’d get to ride in a nicer car!”
3. Hop in an UberPool
UberPool is another way Campbell saves. It lets you share your Uber with other users looking for a ride in the same direction, and split the fare.
“Take UberPool or Lyft Line when it’s surging,” he says. “Many cities still have fixed pricing for these rides so when it’s surging you can still get a $5 or $7 UberPool ride and the driver will still receive the full surge fare from Uber.”
An added bonus of UberPool? You never know who you might meet.
In 2016, Andre 3000 took the UberPool option (though he didn’t mean to select that particular service). He shared the car with a woman and ended up inviting her to join him at a recording studio where she met Kanye West and other music celebs.
Actress Kristen Bell also once took an UberPool (again, by accident). She hilariously live-tweeted the ride — including her carmates’ singing skills.
4. Use Another Rideshare Service
Shopping different rideshare services can also help you save some money.
Campbell says using Lyft or other services can be a great way to save money during peak surge times.
5. Go Old School and Take a Cab
Of course, skipping Uber altogether can be a great way to save some cash.
Taking an old-fashioned yellow taxi may help you save money if fares are surging.
And, with a meter in the cab and clear policies, you won’t be surprised by an exorbitant fare.
Kristen Pope is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.