After several false starts, Uber has only recently made a meaningful debut in New York City, and already, people just can't live without it. But after an initial period of courtship (Free rides in Brooklyn! Kitten delivery!!), New Yorkers' relationship with the service has already begun to sour, thanks to the clever capitalist trick known as surge pricing.
Surge pricing is the product of simple supply and demand, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has told us time and time and again, and no matter how outlandish the bills on a high-demand night, no price cap will be instated.
Instead, Kalanick offers a few words of advice to those looking to book a ride on this, the most hectic night of the year.
Of course, while the obvious pro-tip is don't use Uber on New Year's Eve, Kalanick suggests that traveling before 8 p.m. and within the narrow window between 10:30 p.m. and 12:15 a.m. will allow customers to avoid the most galling prices. Fares will be at their worst between 12:15 a.m. and 3 a.m., but if you can curl up next to a potted plant and hold out until 3:30 a.m., you're home free, or at least home within the realm of monetary sanity.
It's rare for New Yorkers to feel anything but pity toward the denizens of inferior metropolises like Washington, D.C. and San Jose, but when it comes to e-hail apps, those cities have us beat: Competitors like Lyft and Sidecar will help battle Uber's prices, and Hailo...wait, whatever happened to Hailo? The app's website, as well as its Twitter and Facebook pages, are all but silent. We've reached out to the company to find out whether they'll be wading into the surge pricing fray tonight, and we'll update if we hear back.
In the meantime, let's all take a minute to remember that no matter how costly stressful our cab rides are tonight, at least we're not in this car.