Sneaky Uber Knows When To Surge Prices Based On User Phone Battery

Sneaky! Uber Knows When To Surge Prices Based On Users’ Phone Battery Level

Sneaky! Uber Knows When To Surge Prices Based On Users’ Phone Battery Level

Those familiar with Uber will have undoubtedly experience surge pricing at least once. One cause for the surge is when the demand for the company’s rides surpasses their supply of vehicles, prices surges of 2x or 3x occur. Typically, surge pricing like this occurs for two primary reasons, the first is a rapid change in the weather, such as a sudden rainstorm. The second reason is celebratory days such as New Years Eve.

In their defence, Uber have revealed that the price surging has two effects. It prioritises the service, as those who are in no rush wait until the surge has ended. The second, which is slightly more negative, is that drivers then travel into surge areas in order to take advantage of the higher fare.

One group of people are incredibly susceptible to pay for surge Uber rates. This is people who have low battery on their mobile phone. Understandably, these people are willing to pay more to ensure that they can get home without getting trapped without phone battery. Users who have full battery are in a better position to wait the 15-20 minutes required for the surge to end.

The plot thickens, however, when it becomes clear that Uber is aware of the battery level of those who use their service. This information can be found in the privacy statement for Uber. The statement reveals that the company collects data from the devices of its users. Amongst this information is the user’s battery level so the app can determine when to go into power saving mode. The company claims that it does not take advantage of this information to charge users higher fares based on their phone level.

Surge pricing is perhaps the single most disliked feature of the Uber. In certain times, such as key holidays and events, the price of a fare has increased as much as 9.9 times!

It is not only that users with low batteries are more willing to pay for surge fares that has been revealed by Uber. The company have also revealed that its users react most strongly when the surge pricing multiplier is a round number. To demonstrate, the fall in demand when the fare multiplier goes from 1.9 to 2.0 is six times greater a drop in demand than when the fare multiplier goes from 1.8 to 1.9. The company states that even though the financial change is the same, the step to 2.0 just “feels viscerally larger to people.”