Are you ready for New year's Eve? Photo: E_Calamar

Uber, the wildly popular private driver service that just scored $32 million from Jeff Bezos and others, is getting ready for a mad rush on New Year’s Eve.

And how is the company making sure that it has enough Town Cars cruising the city to meet the demand of revelers?

Well, for one, it will be increasing prices during periods when private drivers are in high demand. Uber calls this a “surge event,” meaning that demand rises at the same time it experiences a shortage of drivers.

“During these events like NYE or Halloween there is a run on private cars in most cities and in order to ensure there are enough cars on the system (read: aka an Uber experience), we’ll be enabling surge pricing on New Year’s in a similar fashion to Halloween 2011,” the company writes in a note to customers.

The company explains: “This means that rates on New Year’s Eve will likely increase during peak times of demand BUT when demand subsides or more supply becomes available, rates will automatically drop and you will ALWAYS know if there is a price increase before you request an Uber.”

Uber allows users to book private rides in black Town Cars from their smartphones, tracking the progress of the car on a map and getting alerted via text message when the driver arrives. Fares are added to an individual’s account and tips are included. No cash is exchanged during the ride.

Uber arrived in Seattle this past summer, and I gave it a spin with an interview of my personal driver. The company also operates in New York, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Paris and Washington D.C.

Comments

  • http://www.braddobbs.com Brad Dobbs

    They did this for Halloween too.  It works well – if you really want a ride home, you can get one.  Sure, you have to pay a little more, but it is a balance of waiting with a million other people for a regular cab.  I guess it is all up to you, but I like the option of being able to shell out a little more to get home when I would like.

  • Guest

    I think this demand pricing approach is absolutely brilliant. It’s a simple matter of supply and demand. We’ve already seen its success with the demand-based HOT lane pricing on the Valley Freeway. The 520 bridge tolls will also reflect demand. I’d like to see demand pricing applied to parking meters (which are already electronic) and even public transit. Imagine being able to pay a little more to be on a less-crowded bus or light rail vehicle!

    • Anonymous

      thanks, Travis.

  • K. Arnold

    Uber funding also provided by the ruthless and sickening Goldman Sachs (one of the world’s largest investment banks. It traces its routes back to 1869 and is headquartered in Manhattan, New York City.)

    • Guest

      Would you have preferred Goldman Sachs not invest in a Seattle area technology startup? What would you rather they have done with the money?

    • Guest

      Congratulations to Goldman Sachs! Uber is a raging success and I’m happy that a 142-year-old company is still agile enough to win the future.

  • http://twitter.com/TheDerekJohnson Derek Johnson

    In other news, regular town-car services, nightclubs, etc. are also raising their prices on NYE.

  • Anonymous

    utter failure in NYC.

  • Anonymous

    meters are regulated/calibrated on taxis in nyc.  they will be shut down soon.

    • Guest

      Uber is not a taxi.

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