Jessica Ellis
December 26, 2015 11:21 am

Uber: It’s become one of those how-did-we-live-without-this services, but it’s not without drawbacks, especially during holidays. The app-based car-ordering system is notorious for boosting prices during periods of high demands, something that company execs claim is necessary, even if customers doubt it.

With New Year’s Eve less than a week away, Uber Australia’s general manager David Rohrsheim says people can expect prices to rise to 2.5-3.5 times the normal level. Rorhsheim told the Sydney Morning Herald the surge pricing helps convince drivers, who make their own schedules, to work instead of taking the day off. “Getting drivers out there is our priority, higher fares mean more people will get home. We want part-timers to help out over the new year period through our UberX service.”

Luckily, while Uber is fairly new to Australians, Americans have gotten so used to the service there’s been some serious research on how to avoid Uber surges. Speaking to USA Today, researchers at Northwestern University shared that they’d discovered the best way to avoid an Uber surge is patience: “We see that around 40% of surges only last five minutes, while about 70% of surges last 10 minutes or less,” Assistant Professor Christo Wilson wrote in an email. So if prices are soaring, have a few more crudites and check again in ten minutes.  

Another key to avoiding the surge might be getting a stretch of the legs. “The other recommendation is to look at the prices being offered in adjacent surge areas. One of our key findings is that Uber divides cities up into areas, and that each area has a different surge multiplier,” Wilson added. This means that by walking a few blocks from the main hub of a party area, you may see a significant drop in prices.

Timing can also be everything, as Rorhsheim pointed out. “My hot tip would be to book an Uber at 11.59 and lock it in before the rush, which causes prices to rise,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald, adding that you can also split fees between four people.

Of course, safety first in all things: if you’ve overindulged even a little or aren’t in a safe part of town for walking late at night, it’s always better to risk the extra money in the name of making it home safe.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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