LOS ANGELES—Customers looking to utilize a driving service to get home safely during New Year’s festivities could see a typical fare increase by 200 percent.
Share-riding companies, Uber and Lyft have notified riders of price increases in response to a high demand during holidays and weekends. This practice has raised concerns for the companies in recent years.
Uber indicated that they expect prices to be highest between midnight and 3 a.m. They recommend riders to use the fare estimate before catching a ride to be aware of what the trip will cost before they book a ride. Riders have been informed to use UberPOOL or “split fare” to keep high riding costs down.
UberPOOL matches a customer with another rider who is heading in the same direction; there are no more than two riders per pickup. Split fare, used for groups, equally splits the cost with the total riders in the vehicle.
“Fares may go up or down based on how many people are requesting a ride, so if it’s out of your price range, check back later for lower fares,” states Uber on their website.
Lyft’s similar practice, “Prime Time” has been disputed by unhappy customers after they discovered they were charged higher prices during holidays and other highly active times.
“We use Prime Time to encourage drivers to drive in areas and at times with higher-than-normal demand,” Lyft stated. “In these cases, passengers may pay an additional percentage on top of the original ride’s price.”
Lyft’s price increase is based on supply and demand and can vary from minute to minute.