Is Uber About to Kill Surge Pricing?

Another week, another Ubergate

By Evan Bleier

 
Is Uber About to Kill Surge Pricing?
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03 May 2016

After conflicting reports emerged last week about Uber allowing its drivers to actively solicit tips, the on-demand ride service is back in the position of denying a report about one of its core business practices.

Following an on-the-record conversation with Uber Advanced Technology Center technologist Jeff Schneider, NPR reported that in terms of Uber’s short-term priorities, “killing surge rates is top of the list.” In the interview, Schneider told NPR’s Aarti Shahani that the company plans to use past data to automatically predict demand spikes in order to ensure a supply of drivers will be available, thereby eliminating surge pricing.

Here’s a portion of the transcript:

Shahani: So just note, Jeff from Uber is saying that machine learning will solve the problem and get rid of surge pricing.
Schneider: There we go!
Shahani: There we go, promise to customers.

After people started getting excited about not getting charged extra to get home on Sunday night after Game of Thrones, Uber threw some shade on the parade.

“Uber is always looking for ways to better predict supply and demand in a city. But this story is not accurate: we have no plans to end dynamic pricing,” Uber said in a statement. “While we understand that no one likes to pay more for the same trip, it’s the only way to ensure that passengers can always get a ride when they need one.”

Whether surge pricing goes the way of the dodo or not, for a company that prides itself on customer service, Uber is definitely not making friends in recent weeks.

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