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Will Uber end surge pricing? Company says nope

by Jacob Kleinman | May 4, 2016May 4, 2016 7:30 am PST

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Uber said Tuesday that it has no plans to kill surge pricing, the controversial feature that raises prices by a set multiplier when rides are in high demand. The comments follow a report from NPR claiming the company was working to end surge pricing entirely.

“Uber is always looking for ways to better predict supply and demand in a city,” a spokesperson told MarketWatch. “But this story is not accurate: we have no plans to end dynamic pricing. While we understand that no-one likes to pay more for the same trip, it’s the only way to ensure that passengers can always get a ride when they need one.”

The company uses surge pricing to encourage more drivers to work when they’re needed most. That could mean a rainy day when more people want to use Uber, a busy weekend in the city or right outside a stadium after a big concert is over. Several Uber drivers told NPR that they base their schedules around events likely to trigger surge pricing in an effort to make more money.

The original story also noted that Uber is using machine learning to predict where more drivers will be needed. That could make it possible to direct cars ahead of time and avoid unexpected surge charging in some cases. However, the company doesn’t have any plans to kill off the unpopular feature entirely, at least not for now.

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Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...

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