Football season is kicking off this weekend, and Uber wants fans to be ready for a gridiron crush.
In an email from the popular ride-sharing service, as more people celebrate their respective teams, demand for cars will likely rise significantly, setting off Uber’s dynamic pricing.
Dynamic pricing – also called “surge pricing” – is Uber’s effort to maintain or improve service quality in neighborhoods with higher demand, measured roughly by waiting time for a car. Ideally, the Uber system anticipates these price surges to keep estimated waiting times reasonable as demand increases.
“Our goal is to be as reliable as possible in connecting you with a driver whenever you need one,” the email says. “At times of high demand, this can become limited. As a result, prices increase to encourage more drivers to become available.
“We take notifying you of the current pricing seriously. To that end, you’ll see a notification screen in your app whenever there is surge pricing.”
Uber also provides a 90-second video explaining “Dynamic Pricing 101” – available here.
A surge occurs when demand for rides exceeds the number of available cars. That is when surge pricing automatically goes into effect, enticing more Uber drivers on the road. As demand drops, and more cars free up, rates then go back to normal. Uber riders will need to approve the higher rates before they are connected to a driver.
Since Uber updates pricing in real time, users can plan accordingly with help from the app, which can be set to notify when there is a “surge drop.” In the Uber app, users can tap the NOTIFY ME IF SURGE ENDS button, which then asks to confirm with a Push Notification if surge drops. (Remember to enable Push Notifications within the app settings).