In a move that would have been incredibly useful back on New Year's Eve, Uber is lowering rates in dozens of cities across the United States and Canada. The ride-hail company itself admits that the decision was prompted by an annual winter slump that comes about after the holidays, with fewer riders to go around as most people hunker down for the coldest parts of the year. For the third year in a row, Uber has announced that it's slashing rates by as much as 20 percent in some cities, in the hope that the lowered prices will lure even those of us who prefer to hibernate all winter out of the house.
The company notes on its blog that there is a caveat: If the price cuts don't increase earnings in a city, they'll change right back to normal. In fact, that's exactly what they did in Seattle last year, where Uber totally reversed its price cuts after the lower fares didn't prove profitable enough. "While pricing is a science, every city is different: different economic circumstances; different regulations; different competition," the company writes.
As such, the extent to which fares are lowered depends on the city. Los Angeles and San Francisco, for instance, will see a 10 percent drop, while Houston users will receive a 20 percent reduction, Bloomberg Business reports. Unfortunately for riders in New York City and Chicago, prices in those cities will remain untouched.
Ironically, the lower fares come less than two weeks after Uber made headlines for its surge pricing on New Year's Eve. As is the case after every major holiday, some Uber riders were shocked to wake up on New Year's Day and find bills for rides that typically cost them much less.
Admittedly, Uber does send out an email about surge pricing. And it provides blog posts about understanding surge fare. And it makes you accept the higher rates before calling a ride.
But I digress. Because it depends on the market, there's no word on how long the price cuts will last. If you use Uber and want to take advantage of the lower fare, now is the time — just be sure to tip your driver well. (Although hopefully you're doing that anyway.)
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