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Monday, December 30, 2013

Uber Explains How to Not Get Gouged By Uber This New Year's Eve

Posted By on Mon, Dec 30, 2013 at 1:03 PM

click to enlarge Travis Kalanick dispensing pro-tips.
  • Travis Kalanick dispensing pro-tips.

Given the slew of complaints about Uber's surge pricing during DreamForce -- when fares climbed as high as $45 for a trip downtown -- the company had little choice but to tackle the issue in its latest charm offensive.

Surge pricing isn't going anywhere. The combination of inclement weather, back-to-back holidays, and downtown carousing has just been too lucrative for Uber to pass up. Not to mention the technology startup is committed to its free-market ethos, which favors pure supply-and-demand economics.

Yet, as a sort of palliative, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick offered a few "pro-tips" for riders who want to dodge the high prices this New Year's Eve.

Here he is, breaking it down:

Uber Pro Tips for New Year's Eve from Uber on Vimeo.

There's a nice bit of practical advice in there -- for consumers to avoid taking Uber at the time they'd logically need it. (The $415 tab that Jessica Seinfeld paid to have her kids squired from a Bar Mitzvah to a sleepover has already become a symbol of tech start-up iniquity.) But, as beloved Silicon Valley watchdog Sam Biddle put it, the real take-away is that Uber's pricing schemes are "so problematic that they require an instructional video on how to avoid them." A cynic might also view this pricing primer -- which Uber fire-hosed into the inboxes of various tech journalists this morning -- as a shield against all the complaints that will inevitably come on January 1st. Which might just be the dawn of another profitable year for Uber.
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About The Author

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan was a staff writer at SF Weekly from 2013 to 2015. In previous lives she was a music editor, IP hack, and tutor of Cal athletes.

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