Uber justifies surge pricing; you'll wait either way

Uber may not be well-liked by the taxi industry and government officials in certain cities, but on the consumer level it enjoys a fair amount of fondness...until surge pricing kicks in. Some consumers fail to realize what surge pricing is and become upset when realizing the trip back home is going to cost double what it did an hour ago. Uber has addressed the matter, but not in a way that matters much to riders.

In a statement today, Uber discussed surge pricing and why it matters. For those unfamiliar, surge pricing is a higher rate that comes into effect when demand is high — so, for example, after a big concert, during a major holiday, in areas that just happen to be busy. The reason, says the ridesharing company, is that an absence of surge pricing would mean a long wait for cars to arrive.

According to Uber, some people will choose to wait until surge pricing ends before ordering a car, which is important because without surge pricing, that person would have to wait anyway due to more demand than drivers. So, essentially, surge pricing encourages some people to wait so that other people aren't forced to wait. It also encourages drivers to operate where demand is high, reducing ETAs.

The ridesharing service went all out when detailing its surge pricing reasoning, including publishing a case study that looks at data from when a glitch ended surge pricing in NYC during New Year's Eve. It contrasts this with surge pricing in effect. For riders, it ultimately means one thing: you still have to pay more when demand is high, or you'll have to wait it out.