Uber Could Implement Surge Pricing on New Year's Eve — How to Avoid It

If Uber implements surge pricing on New Year’s Eve, you could pay more than eight times the normal fare. Here are a few tips to avoid it.

Jennifer Farrington - Author

Dec. 28 2022, Published 12:43 p.m. ET

Women celebrating New Year's
Source: Pexels

If you plan on spending New Year's Eve out celebrating (and drinking) with friends or family this year, now is the time to establish how you’ll be getting home. If you’ve already secured a designated driver, then you’re one of the lucky ones. But, if you haven’t, you may be considering requesting an Uber when you’ve had enough socializing for the night.

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While taking an Uber is the safer (and legal) alternative to you driving after drinking, you might want to consider other rideshare companies. Uber could implement its surge pricing on New Year’s Eve. What is Uber’s surge pricing and at what time does it usually take effect?

What is Uber’s surge pricing?

Uber app
Source: Unsplash

When the demand for an Uber ride surpasses the number of drivers available, Uber will sometimes implement surge pricing. Basically what this means is that Uber will increase its fees drastically, sometimes charging up to eight times (or more) the normal rate, similar to what grocery stores do when the demand for food items increases.

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Because Uber’s surge pricing does “change in real-time” and varies by location, as the rideshare company puts it, riders could literally watch the price of rides fluctuate by the minute.

In the past, riders voiced their concerns about Uber’s surge pricing on New Year’s Eve. Film critic and entertainment reporter Kevin McCarthy shared via Twitter that his rate increased by 6.9 times the normal fare. He was traveling in Philadelphia.

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People celebrating New Year's
Source: Getty Images

What time will Uber’s surge pricing take effect on New Year’s Eve?

There isn't a definite time Uber will begin implementing its surge pricing on New Year’s Eve as the rideshare company will need to assess the demand for a ride at that time. In the past, however, Uber has been known to start raising its rates between 12:15 a.m. and 3:00 a.m., either right after the ball drops or after the party starts dying down.

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So, if you plan on grabbing an Uber to get you home safely after ringing in the new year, you may either want to wait until after Uber stops surge pricing. But, if you aren't keen on spending double, triple, or even quadruple the amount you would typically dish out on an Uber ride, consider the alternatives we’ve outlined for you down below and some tips on how to avoid paying more for an Uber.

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Lyft driver
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Is there any way to avoid Uber’s surge pricing on New Year’s Eve?

Should Uber decide to hit riders with surge pricing on New Year’s Eve, you may be able to avoid the high costs associated with securing an Uber by doing this:

  • Consider walking a few minutes away to an area where rides are less costly. Uber’s surge pricing is based on demand and location. So, if you’re with a large group of people and it's safe for you to walk a few blocks, you may find a surge-free zone and pay less for an Uber.
  • Gather as many promo codes as you can for Uber (or other rideshare companies). Although companies tend to limit promo code usage on major holidays, it's worth having them available if Uber surge pricing takes effect and it's your only way to get home. You never know, one coupon code might just work!
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  • Download all the rideshare apps. If an Uber ride is too costly on New Year’s Eve, other companies offer similar services. If you already have all the apps downloaded, it will be much easier to compare rates and choose the cheapest.

In terms of alternatives to Uber, you might consider asking a friend or relative to serve as the designated driver. You might even offer them some sort of incentive for taking on the job. And if that doesn’t work, perhaps you might consider celebrating New Year’s closer to your home so that you won’t have to pay as much for an Uber as would if you were farther away.


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