If you plan on going out for New Year's Eve, it's a good idea to plan your transportation and accommodations for the evening in advance.
If you plan to be out and doing a little drinking, the best rule of thumb is to hire a taxi or order an Uber or Lyft ride.
But if you're trying to stay within a budget for the evening, you'll want to be aware of something that can become very costly as the night goes on: surge pricing.
What is surge pricing?
Surge pricing means the demand for rides in your area has picked up, and therefore the pricing has increased.
On Uber's website, Uber defines surge pricing as "a multiplier of X.X." This means the base fare, time, and distance of the trip fare are multipled by the X factor, whatever the surge number is at that time.
But according to KWQC, recent changes to Uber's app may may it difficult to see the surge pricing when you order a ride.
“I’ve had people get in my car and they don’t realize that it is a surge,”Uber driver Darren Low, said. “What will happen is that at the end of the trip they will see the price because they weren’t aware of the total fare price and how to look that up.”
Last year, this happened to a man who was charged $490 for an 18 mile ride after a football game, while another man was charged $1,100 for a ride on New Year's Eve. Though Uber claimed 60% of the rides on New Year's Eve were not affected by surge pricing, this also means that 40% of the rides were.
Tips to keep the cost of your Uber rides down
All this said, here are some tips to keep your ridesharing costs down on New Year's Eve.
- Be sure to pay attention to the fare estimates on your phone.
- Avoid requesting a ride between 12am and 3am, as fares will be the highest during that time.
- Opt to share rides with users going in a similar direction by using UberPOOL.
- Use an app like Cut the Surge to avoid booking a ride during a surge.
- Try an alternative ridesharing app, such as Flywheel, Via or Wingz, if available in your area.
Protect yourself when ridesharing
Due to ridesharing crimes, it's important to stay safe when requesting an Uber or Lyft ride.
Whenever you request a ride, be sure that the license plate number matches the license plate number on the app, and never take a ride with someone who offers a ride to you outside of the app. You never want to get into a car with a license place number different from the one showing in the app.
Uber has also released a few tips in its 2016 New Year's Eve ride guide.
If you're an Uber driver, NYE is prime time to make big bucks
With all that said, New Year's Eve can be a great way for Uber drivers to make a few hundred dollars, (or even a few thousand, as reported by one Uber driver in Nashville) on New Years Eve.
According to the website TheRideShareGuy.com, New Year's Eve is the most lucrative day to be a rideshare driver, followed by St. Paddy's Day, July 4th and then Halloween. However, depending on your specific area, the money you can expect to make on New Year's Eve can vary quite a bit.
If you live in close to a metro city, driving Uber might be one good way to start out the new year with some extra cash.