New Year’s Eve means a scramble after midnight for a quick trip home. Taxis will be scarce, and Uber’s “elastic” pricing means even a short trip can run you a long bill.
How bad can it be? Jessica Seinfeld paid $415 for a trip for her children through a December storm. While the app warns users of higher cost multipliers during peak demand times, the pricing strategy has sparked a backlash among critics who call the practice “gouging” and a rip-off when users need it most.
Uber founder and chief executive Travis Kalanick even made a video on how to dodge the highest fares.
— Go early and leave late. Before 8 p.m. and after 3 a.m., the rates approach some sort of normalcy.
— 10:30 p.m. until 12:15 a.m. offers a brief respite. Perfect if you’re party hopping or can’t make it til the ball drops.
— 12:15 a.m. to 3 a.m., seek alternate route. This is peak usage time.
Fortunately, you’ve got options: The MBTA will run free 8 p.m. until 2 a.m., and regular taxis (remember those) will run at their regular prices, if you can track one down (Here are some good options for apps to help with just that).