Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

NYers shouldn’t complain about Uber’s price surge

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts


We were with Mayor Bloomberg when he pushed for e-hailing — allowing New Yorkers to use a smartphone app to book their cab rides. That in turn led to a pilot program with new taxi companies such as Uber.

But as so often happens, the same company whose new service earns accolades eventually becomes successful enough to find itself denounced as an enemy of the people. That seems to be what’s happening to Uber over its “surge” pricing.

The concept of surge pricing is nothing new. It means that prices go up when demand is high — during, for example, the recent snowstorm, when prices tripled in New York — and drops when demand is low. The benefit for Uber is obvious: It makes more money when prices are high.

But there’s a benefit for consumers, too. It means that there will be a cab when you want one, if you are willing to pay. After all, what good is the right to a taxi ride that will cost you $15 if you have to wait six hours to get a cab, or never get a cab at all? Under normal conditions, you may not value a car at surge pricing. But if the weather is awful and it’s the only way you can make your flight to Paris, it may then look worth every penny.

We don’t pretend to know what the right prices are for taxis. But neither do Uber’s critics. So long as the company is up front — and their booking even requires people to type in the price multiplier, to confirm they are aware of it — we say this is something best hashed out between consenting adults. That is, passengers and riders.

We’re not saying all taxi services should follow suit. We’re just saying New Yorkers could do with more choice — and competition. Happy Uber Year.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this