Surge Pricing in Full Effect for Ride Sharing Services in the Capital Region
If you are planning on utilizing ride sharing services to shows or anywhere with a lot of people this summer I have one piece of advice for you ... BEWARE the SURGE!
So last summer when ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft finally arrived in the Capital Region prices were fairly reasonable all the time. Presumably because they were trying to get people used to utilizing the service. Still I found myself toggling back and fourth between the two looking for coupons and the best price between the two.
In the beginning I found that Lyft was the less expensive but now almost a year into their service in the Capital Region I'm finding that Uber generally has a better rate even with a promo code on Lyft.
The regular pricing is not the only thing I have noticed change on the ride sharing apps. Both services have implemented Surge Pricing. Meaning that if it is a popular times for rides, like 2am on a Friday or Saturday or after a big event with a lot of people looking to hail a ride the fare price goes up exponentially.
For example I went out a couple of weekends ago and tried to hail a ride at about 1:45am and a ride that would normally cost me $8-$10 was in the $40 range. Last weekend however, I came across the biggest surge pricing I have seen personally and I have used the service in some other states after some big festivals.
I took an Uber to SPAC over the weekend to catch a show and it cost me $42 to get from Albany to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Leaving the show I was given pricing on a hole other level. To get home from the show Uber was quoting me at $160.61 while Lyft wanted $297.73! Since I have had some experience with surge pricing before I decided to walk into Saratoga and wait out the Surge and while Uber's price stayed relatively the same Lyft kept going up and at the height of it all wanted $359.38!
I called a regular cab at one point to see what they would charge me and they wanted somewhere around $60 but said they would be there "in 30 minutes or longer" at some point during that wait the surge pricing went down and I was able to catch an Uber home for about that same price albeit way later then I had planned on being out.
While I think overall that ride sharing is an amazing service for the Capital Region I feel like nearly $400 for a $40 ride is a bit exuberant. So if you are planning on heading to a show using a ride sharing service I suggest you give yourself sometime to wait out the surge after the fact unless you are willing to shell out some serious clams.