Here’s a story from The New Paper that’s making its rounds quickly on Facebook:
True to their style — which to be entirely fair, we shouldn’t fault TNP for; after all, readers do go to them for these things — a sensational headline with bold, capital letters for added impact.
And the first few paragraphs, laying out the scenario in a dramatic fashion.
But what’s actually going on here? The facts, below:
1. The passenger, Ruby Lambert, is looking for a ride with her four colleagues, and they are rushing to a meeting in Ayer Rajah.
2. From their Beach Road office, she searches for an Uber, and settles on the following:
– Not UberX, or UberXL, or even UberExec, but UberExecLarge — the priciest of all the available categories;
– a price surge of 2.4x the usual fare.
3. Their ride took 27 minutes, and it came up to a fare total of $169.00. Here’s her Facebook post with the screen-capture:
Kinda crazy-looking? We agree. But let’s run through the details of what happened here:
Now, to be clear, it really isn’t all that easy to book a ride with surge pricing on Uber. This page explains the steps:
As you can see, you’ll REALLY KNOW when you are accepting a fare with surge pricing.
And then, there are the different categories of cars she could have picked. Between the categories, the ones that allow more than four passengers would be UberXL and UberExecLarge. Their starting fares appear in the screenshots below:
If any of the categories are experiencing surge pricing, a blue lightning bolt sign will appear beside the name of the category. You can already see that between UberXL and UberExecLarge, there is from the start a $10 disparity in minimum fare. It also jumps faster than UberXL:
In the story, to be fair, Lambert said,
“I was in such a rush that day that I just acknowledged the surge pricing without thinking too much about it.”
She also highlighted that it is important for people to be cautious about the fares they accept before doing so, apart from saying she will continue to use Uber:
“I just thought using the app is very convenient because it is linked to my credit card. My experience so far has been positive and the drivers have all been very polite.
But I think people should just be wary that the fare could be very high, and they should read carefully before accepting anything, even if they are in a hurry.”
In a follow-up Facebook post, she also said:
All that said, this hasn’t stopped commenters on the story from being opportunistic.
From the TNP Facebook post:
That said, there were many on the other side of the fence:
Sure, Uber can be expensive, but if you read carefully before accepting anything, many of your rides could actually be cheaper than they would be in regular taxis, especially during peak hour periods and after midnight.
Top photo from Ruby Lambert’s Facebook page.