Sunday, January 03, 2016

Clients Using Destinations as Pickup Request to combat Surge Pricing

Surge pricing reached 7.3x in Napa on New Year's Day morning. In San Francisco, surge pricing remained constant in an attempt to possibly calm client fears of expensive trips back home. We did hear of 12x going on in New York City, which amounted to a $1,000 Uber trip for a 60-minute trip.

Clients are getting smart, with some now using destinations as pickup addresses to avoid surge pricing. How is this done on the client's part?

Well, clients request Uber pickups in neighborhoods unaffected by surge pricing. After drivers wait 5 minutes for these clients, all of a sudden the client calls the driver and asks them why they are at a particular address. The Uber driver must now drive to a new location to retrieve their client. The result is no surge pricing, wasted time for driver, and a cheap trip.

Clients are requesting rides to their home address. However, these clients are at another location. An example: A client calls to ask the driver why they are parked in a neighborhood. The driver informs this client they requested the Uber at a particular address which they read back to them.

Despite this revelation, the client confirms that this is their destination and they are at some place 20 minutes away. Surge pricing was taking place within the new pickup area, so this client attempted to outsmart the Uber platform to avoid a higher fare home. What makes this situation worse is the client jumping into the wrong Uber and now this driver is out 25+ minutes dealing with this client.

Some clients are fighting back to get low fares. They are drop pins in slow areas, inputting destinations as pickup addresses, and acting as if the Uber platform made the mistake. If clients try to game the system on rainy nights, beware that you may not find another Uber to drive you.

Keep in mind that drivers lose money. All the time wasted waiting and traveling to new pickup addresses cost your driver valuable time on the road. Within being available, this driver is making less money searching for you. You save money, while your driver loses earnings.