A ride from Oakley to Downtown could cost $72 on New Year's Eve
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - You've probably thought about what you're going to wear on New Year's Eve, but have you figured out how you're going to get around town?
If you're a regular user of Uber or Lyft, you know they have special surge pricing during times when many people are demanding rides...like New Year's Eve.
This is how Uber describes surge pricing:
With surge pricing, Uber rates increase to get more cars on the road and ensure reliability during the busiest times. When enough cars are on the road, prices go back down to normal levels. It's important to know that you'll always be notified in big, bold print if surge pricing is in effect. When rates are more than double, the surge confirmation screen also requires you to type in the specific surge multiplier to ensure you understand what rates to expect.
After backlash from hundreds of riders who claimed to have been caught of guard by this surging, the car ride service posted a graph of the best (cheapest) times to catch a ride this New Year's Eve on their website.
According to the graph, prices will be the highest from 8 to 10 p.m. Wednesday night and 12:30 to 2:30 a.m. Thursday morning.
For your ride home, the company suggests that people either request a ride right when the ball drops or wait until later for prices to return to normal.
Lyft's website doesn't appear to have a similar graph for riders, however, its official community site for drivers does feature a graph under 'Your Guide to Maximum Earnings on New Year's Eve.'
"New Year's Eve is the best night to be a Lyft driver," reads the blog post by Laura Copeland, who, on LinkedIn, identifies herself as a Driver Communications Lead at Lyft. "You'll earn more in just a few hours on Dec. 31 than on any other night of the year — especially because we're increasing the Prime Time cap to 400%."
On top of that, Lyft is guaranteeing Prime Time pricing in select cities like Los Angeles, Miami, New York City and Washington D.C. According to a graph shown, the guaranteed surges in those cities will happen from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. to 3 a.m. Cincinnati does not have guaranteed Prime Time pricing for drivers.
So what does this all mean?
As of 2 p.m., Lyft estimated a ride from 3225 Oakley Station Blvd. in Oakley (that's where the Cinemark movie theater is) to Fountain Square would be about $18. Since the ride from Oakley Station to Fountain Square is 8.9 miles, according to Google Maps, the ride, without any surge pricing, would cost about $2.02 per mile.
Tonight, if a 400 percent surge is added for 'Prime Time,' that same ride will cost $72, or $8.08 per mile.
Uber's estimate at 2 p.m. was similar to Lyft's. It said a ride from Oakley to Fountain Square would cost between $16 and $21.
However, while Lyft has a surge cap at 400 percent, Uber doesn't even have a cap. Which means, Uber could decide to make people pay however much they see fit.
Regardless of what ride service you end up using, remember not to drink and drive.
On one of the busiest party nights of the year, cab driver for Elite Taxi Pat Shafer expects to have a busy night too.
"Eight o'clock until about 10 and then it will slow down and around 12:30 people will do a big shift of bars and then we'll stay busy all the way up until four in the morning," Shafer said. "As a general rule, we get pretty slammed which is a good thing because that shows people are taking responsibility instead of going out and trying to drive after they've been drinking. They'll take a cab and get home safe."
Shafer says no matter what app or service you choose to get home, any way is better than drinking and choosing to drive.
"we are a lot cheaper than a DUI," said Shafer. "We've got a few customers that have been down that road. They've discovered that by themselves. Sure, we're out here to make money of course but at the same time, we want to service the public and make sure they get home safe so they can start the new year right."
Uber is also helping riders do their part to end drunk driving. Between 6 p.m. on New Year's Eve and 6 a.m. on Jan. 1, Uber is donating $1 of every ride nationally to MADD when riders enter the code MADDNYE.
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