For the past several years, Uber has defended its use of “surge pricing” as a way to ensure supply in times when demand is high. By charging a premium for a ride, the company argues, it gets more drivers on the road, and curtails the number of requests from potential passengers, keeping inventory in check.
That said, there was no good way for passengers to know when that was over. Now, thanks to an update of Uber’s mobile apps, passengers will never have to guess when surge pricing ends, as the company has added a field to allow them to be notified when the multiplier is turned off.
According to Uber’s blog post, the update will begin rolling out to iOS users this week, enabling them to request an update and be notified if surge pricing ends within 30 minutes of their initial request. “In addition to seeing clear information about surge pricing in the app, you’ll be able to wait it out for a cheaper ride and get notified if surge ends,” the post says.
Frequent users of the on-demand transportation service — especially those in major cities — have come to expect the pricing multiplier during rush hours and storms, when demand for service begins to outstrip supply.
That’s something Uber says it’s working on. According to Uber spokesperson Andrew Noyes:
“We’re working hard to bring on more partner drivers in all of the cities we serve so that there’s more supply available at all times. As you know, surge pricing helps get more cars on the road quickly when demand outstrips supply, helping to guarantee people can get a ride when and where they want.”