How You Now Pay Uber Surge Pricing Without Realizing It

I’m currently on a business trip and I had to make multiple stops while on it.  Uber was super convenient for me because the local transit was having issues due to a bad storm.  I got off my train and hopped right into an Uber.

rental car

Since I’m on a trip in a new area, I’m not entirely familiar with how far apart things are from each other.

Uber has a new feature.  Overall, I like this feature.  It lets you see how much your fare will be before you take the route.  But it’s hard to judge what that fare means if you are unfamiliar with the area.

I jumped into an Uber for my second leg.  It presented me a fare of about $20.  I shrugged and booked it.

While I was in the car, the driver started making small talk about the weather.  He mentioned that he probably wouldn’t be on the road if it weren’t for the surge pricing.

Surge pricing?

Sure enough, we were currently on surge pricing and I had no idea.

UberX Surcharges

I don’t necessarily have any problem with my fare.  I accepted the $20 fare as a reasonable amount to pay to get to my next destination.  I just had no idea what distance I was traveling and how this fare was affected by surge pricing.

The only reason it really matters to me is because I’m on business travel.  I need to make sure I’m pursuing the best options financially.

Usually, Uber is this.  But Uber on a surge usually isn’t.  In those cases, I should probably take a cab.  So I’m a little mad at myself for not noticing that Uber was on a surge.

I want to stress that I accepted this fare and I’m not holding it against Uber.  In fact, I like that surge pricing helps me get a car when it’s pouring and I need to get to an important place.

I’m okay with this system from a personal perspective.  If $20 sounds fair as a fare (get it? eh?), I’m okay with making that decision.

When it’s my company’s money, I want to make sure I can be as responsible as possible.  Now I feel as if it is more difficult to compare Uber pricing to cab pricing.

What do you think of the new way Uber is presenting its fares?

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. It’s pretty scammy.

    They disclose it’s surge pricing in your receipt – they should disclose it in your fare estimate.

    The culture at that company makes airlines look friendly.

  2. So did uber not display surge price during any part of your reservation, or did you just not notice it? It’s not completely clear from your article. Thanks.

  3. I will not be using Uber until they disclose the surge before riding. Uber sold this feature as “transparent” when it is anything but transparent. At first I was a huge uber fan. Now they are anticompetitive hypocritics. Not a company I want to do business with. I guess I’m better off walking.

  4. I never liked the corporate culture of UBER while I agree that the company provides a convenient solution to the monopoly taxi industry. For example, when uber started their default was black car and they got so many complaints and they changed it. Recently, they are going hard on an app that compares their prices to other alternatives. Oh hey, it is going against its philosophy. <- Actually I think it was never their philosophy. It was just their marketing and they are exploiting their position as a leader in the industry. finally this. This really doesn't surprise me. Overall, I try to use Lyft wherever it is available. It is not as fancy as Uber but it does its job. And I hear from the drivers that Lyft is more driver friendly.

    • Jeanne Marie Hoffman

      One of my drivers yesterday told me that Uber passes fees onto the drivers, whereas Lyft passes the fees onto the customers. He drives for both, but switches to Uber when it’s surge pricing or when Lyft is slow.

  5. I am a carer and ordered an Uber leaving my client who I bill for my taxi fare. Was quoted 38.50 for my ride whichin turn billed the client. After I got to my destination was billed 58.30 ! 20
    Quid variance does one have any recourse???

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