They call New Year's Eve amateur night for a reason, but with the profusion of ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft, the roads could be safer in the wee hours of 01/01/15. But all those rides won't be cheap.
Sure, supply and demand is an economic principle that helps keep America strong, but when it's 3 a.m. and you can't be bothered with details, your Uber or Lyft ride home could cost more than you bargained for.
The Tampa Bay Times
that ride share operators have been applying "surge pricing" on nights where a high-volume ridership is expected, such as major sporting events.
Taylor Bennett, a spokesman for Uber, told the Times
that this New Year's Eve is "
likely to be the company's busiest night in history, and he expects riders will requests millions of rides nationwide, many of them falling under surge pricing."
In Uber's case, Times
reporter Caitlin Johnston writes, the inflated rates could be up to 10 times that of a regular ride share fare, which seems to defeat the purpose of the concept as an alternative to pricier cab fares. Lyft caps the cost at twice that of the standard rate on most nights, but will lift that cap to four times the normal price for New Year's.
"I think with New Year's Eve in particular, maybe drivers are debating between driving and going out," Lyft spokeswoman Chelsea Wilson told the Times
. "Increasing the cap allows us to incentivize them to get on the road and maximum the numbers of safe rides available, but it also keeps prices lower than other platforms that don't have a cap."
The apps used for ordering car service are supposed to alert the user that a higher rate will apply during a given high-demand period, but in all likelihood many trying to catch a ride after a bottle of prosecco and a 12-pack of Golden Monkey won't be at their most detail-oriented.
Not that driving while impaired should ever be an option, of course. Paying $100 for what should be a $10 ride is still astronomically better than endangering others and oneself as well as getting arrested and subject to thousands in fines.