If you live in or near a city, you know that Uber’s prices can fluctuate MAJORLY. And when it comes to most holidays, you can bet that there will be a pretty hefty price surge. Halloween is, unfortunately, no exception. But —there’s away around emptying your checking account to take a cab ride home tomorrow night. A new study from Northeastern University has totally figured Uber out.
So, Uber tends to be hush-hush about their pricing, but some smart humans have done the research for us. Students involved in this Uber study discovered that price surges happen about every five to ten minutes
“We see that around 40% of surges only last five minutes, while about 70% of surges last 10 minutes or less,” Christo Wilson, an assistant professor at Northeastern and one of the writers of the study, told USA Today. “This essentially means that if you observe surge prices on Uber, your best bet is to just wait it out, because they typically don’t last long. . .Normally, when you open the Uber app, it downloads the eight closest cars to you, the estimated wait time for a ride, and the surge multiplier. The app then refreshes this data every five seconds.”
Another option? Check out the prices being offered in other areas and walk a few blocks. “One of our key findings is that Uber divides cities up into areas, and that each area has a different surge multiplier,” Wilson told USA Today.
The study also found that surge pricing makes Uber demands go down, often prompting people to make alternate plans or wait for a ride. “People love the ability to push a button and get a ride quickly and reliably — wherever they are in a city,” a spokesperson for Uber told USA Today. “And dynamic or surge pricing helps make that possible because it encourages drivers to go to the neighborhoods with the highest demand — ensuring there’s always a ride available within minutes.”
Essentially, here’s what we can all learn from this: If you’re debating whether to head home or wait a few extra minutes and hang out with your buds, check Uber and see if the price surge is happening. If it is, chill out with your buds and enjoy a little more Halloween fun, for the sake of your wallet.
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