How to avoid an outrageous Uber charge on New Year’s Eve

Written by |

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.

Read more: Lyft or Uber: Comparing ride-share services as a source of income

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.


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.

Read more: Fake Uber scam: The #1 way to protect yourself

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, 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.

Clark Howard goes undercover as a Lyft and Uber driver

Welcome bonuses can be a great way to boost the value of a credit card. Best Credit Card Sign-up Bonuses for 2023 - Team Clark spent hours reviewing the market for credit card sign-up bonuses and evaluated them according to the guidelines for usage set by money expert Clark Howard. Clark believes credit cards with exorbitant annual fees are a bad idea for most…
Team Clark's cell phone expert ranks the best cell phone plans and deals. Best Cell Phone Plans in 2023: The Cheapest Plan for Every Need - Team Clark ranks the best cell phone plans and deals! See our favorites for unlimited data, families and cheap plans starting at $10/month.