Update: Uber has stated in an interview with Techcrunch that this plan isn’t currently in the works.
If Uber were a box of chocolates, surge pricing would be the liquid rum centre.
Which is to say, sometimes a thing so otherwise sweet can really make you wonder why the hell you deal with this sh*t anyway.
Indeed, for everything we love about Uber, the company’s surge pricing policy is loathsome at best and financially crippling at worst.
Well, good news, because Uber’s working to put an end to inflated fares.
“Uber wants to use machine learning – the ability of machines to teach themselves (artificial intelligence, basically) – so that drivers know when demand in a given area will tick up even if there isn’t a concert happening,” writes Money.
This way, they’ll know in which areas they can expect to pick up fares. Such a system would mean that demand wouldn’t outpace driver supply and drivers won’t be aimlessly touring the city hoping to be within a passenger’s proximity.
What will be great for riders, however, isn’t so ideal for drivers, half of whom are already ditching Uber within a year after realizing it’s not such a great gig after all.
“Surge is absolutely make or break. If there was no surge, ever, I wouldn’t be able to afford doing this at all,” says one driver in an interview with NPR. While regular fares net him around $11 an hour, his weekly earnings surge to around $16 or $17 an hour when he’s able to book rides during surge pricing periods.
Uber rides are already around two-thirds the cost of a taxicab ride, so perhaps a more reasonable solution would be to slightly increase regular fares instead of settling for a two-tier system that leans to one of two extremes.
The other alternative, of course, is allowing Uber drivers to accept tips, which, no.
Paying people a reasonable wage while offering a more affordable price than the competition – maybe not every business model has to be “disrupted.”