You want to start the year 2016 off on the best foot possible — not trying to figure out how the heck you're going to pay off the insane Uber bill you may or may not have racked up trying to leave that fancy New Year's Eve party at 2 a.m. Avoiding Uber surge pricing on New Year's Eve is surprisingly easy, so long as you know the best times to travel. And regardless of whether you take an Uber, Lyft, or cab, it's always better to catch a ride home after a night of champagne-fueled revelry than to attempt the drive yourself. Safety first, people. You know the drill.
Surge pricing gets a bad rap, but it's actually a pretty clever way to make sure there are enough cars available for everyone who needs one. When there's a higher demand for rides, prices go up to encourage more drivers to get on the road to relieve that demand. Luckily, Uber has been super helpful when it comes to making sure customers get the smoothest ride possible on New Year's Eve. Earlier this month, the company released its New Year's Eve Ride Guide that spells out the best and worst times to try to catch a ride on New Year's Eve, which just so happens to be Uber's busiest night of the year. According to Uber, demand for a ride is highest between the hours of 12:30 a.m. and 4 a.m., so if you can, try to leave your New Year's Eve soiree shortly after midnight to avoid surge pricing. Of course, if it's not possible for you to leave that early, run a fare estimate to see how much your ride home is going to cost you. And, if the current surge price feels a little too high for your taste, try checking back in a few minutes later. It's possible the rate might go down.
Obviously, surge pricing is inevitable on New Year's Eve, the busiest night of partying in the world. However, there are a few tips to keep in mind that will keep your fare at a much more manageable price. The only thing you'll have to worry about the next morning is dealing with your hangover.
1. Leave early
If you can leave before midnight, you can better avoid the manic rush to find a ride home. When there are fewer people trying to call an Uber car, prices are going to go down. Uber estimates surge pricing will begin to climb around 12:30 a.m. on New Year's Eve, and will be at its most extreme around 2 a.m. So, plan your exit accordingly.
2. Set up app notifications for when surge pricing drops
The cost of a ride is twice what it normally is? Don't give up hope — when your app alerts you of surge pricing, select the "notify me if surge ends" option. You'll get a notification if rates go down in the next 30 minutes.
3. Split your fare
It's hard to avoid surge pricing on a night like New Year's Eve, but costs become much more manageable if you can split them with a friend or two. Using Uber's fare split option, you can easily divvy up the fare among your party members. Just select "split fare" after requesting your ride, and Uber will do the math for you.
4. Try UberPOOL
Share a ride using UberPOOL, an option that matches you with another rider traveling a similar route. It'll save you money, and it will get more cars off the road for the evening.