How much is too much ?
In about three years, Uber has revolutionized the business of transportation. Tap an app on your phone, and a private car and driver appears in minutes. Taxis? Old school. Uber, and it's competitors, Lyft and Sidecar, have taken advantage of the mobile app revolution and are the ride of choice for a (mostly) younger generation .
They operate in dozens of cities around the world, and have successfully fought off attempts by most Taxi companies to throw them the heck out of Dodge. Having said that, it seems now these marketing and public relations and social media semi geniuses are making a big mistake. They're getting greedy. Claiming it's simply about supply and demand, they are changing their prices , increasing them dramatically when demand is high and car supply is low.
New Years Eve, in what Uber calls ''surge pricing'' there is literally no limit on the increase, though supposedly your'e told in advance the price when you're booking on your phone and you can always decline. Lyft and Sidecar are ''only'' increasing their normal rates by a factor of 3 tonite. Taxis, on the other hand, as several drivers reminded me today for our story on Studio 11 LA at 5pm, their prices are set and do not change based on demand.
Uber, stung by criticism over this practice in NYC during the recent bad winter storms, is trying to be clever and had the CEO release a video and write a blog with ''Pro Tips'' on how to avoid the price hike by say, waiting till after 3 AM to call rather than try to get home at 12:15 AM.
Okay, what am I supposed to do between midnite and 3am when the party is long over? Not a realistic choice. Several younger folks I talked to were saying flat out they won't be calling a car service tonite because of this. Here in LA I should point out that Metro buses and subways are free till 2 am, though that's hardly door to door service, you can't beat THAT price.
If you're too tipsy to get behind the wheel tonight, call 1-800-400-4AAA for a free ride & tow home from AAA