First and foremost, we hope that everyone is safe and damage to your homes and property is minimal from the thunderstorms and flash flooding that occurred earlier this week.
Over the past couple of days, you may have heard about “surge pricing,” or experienced it yourself on Monday, and we wanted to take a moment to explain what surge pricing is and clear up some common misconceptions.
First to clarify, we never surge the prices of the uberTAXI option. Regular taxis are always priced at the standard metered rate. This was the case during the most recent storm. We only surge the luxury UberBLACK option – which provides Black Sedans and SUVs.
At times of increased demand, we use surge pricing to try and guarantee reliability on our system. This means dynamically changing the price. When demand spikes (and supply fails to keep up with it), prices go up. Higher prices encourage more drivers to come onto the system. Once demand subsides or more cars become available, the price of a ride goes back to normal.
Raising prices is necessary because drivers don’t want to be out anymore than you or I do. Difficult driving conditions, gridlocked traffic, and potential for vehicle damage (their source of income) makes getting off the road a very attractive option. When drivers choose not to work, our system stops working and getting a car isn’t an option – none will be available. As a result of surge pricing, we kept more supply on the road and were able to make more than double the number of trips happen, helping to alleviate the transportation crunch the city was facing.
We love this city, and it pains us that surge pricing is perceived as taking advantage of Torontonians. That certainly wasn’t our intention. At Uber, we’re always striving to make our product better and this experience has shown that we need to do a better job explaining surge pricing. Our goal isn’t to rip anyone off — it’s to make sure that the option of a ride is there when people need it. We hope you’ll give us that chance.
GM, Uber Toronto
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