Uber, the cab company that wants you to think it’s a lifestyle, an app, a brandstyle, a lifebrand, Christ anything but a company responsible for drivers really, has been taking some knocks lately. Rather than run them all down right now, we’ll just fast-forward to the latest battle Uber is fighting, since it’s right in our backyard. The City Council held hearings yesterday on a bill to cap Uber’s surge pricing, according to Capital, although it’s not as if they were looking to kill it off entirely.
Surge pricing, for those of you blessedly unfamiliar with it, is Uber’s practice of multiplying the amount of money a ride costs in times of high demand, which Uber says gets more drivers out on the street. That could mean the price being driven up by something as predictable as rush hour or something as unpredictable as a monster snow storm or a terrorist attack. When surge pricing is in effect, prices can be anywhere from 85% higher to over 500% higher than base fares.
So, City Council member David Greenfield introduced a bill to cap the prices at 100% of the base fare, which Uber doesn’t want to do. Neither, for that matter, do some City Council members who see Uber as serving areas outside of Manhattan when people need cabs. Which is a good point, and obviously there’s the old refrain of “If you don’t like surge pricing than don’t use Uber,” not a crazy idea given how many transportation options are available in New York. So our advice is just don’t use Uber, ever, and hope they don’t actually destroy the taxi system in New York just in case you ever need to catch a cab.