It’s a surging pain

Uber Technologies Inc. signage stands inside the company's office prior to Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, speaking in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, March 24, 2014. Rubio addressed the need to adapt antiquated government regulations to increase economic opportunities for the 21st century and outdated regulations limit consumer choice. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg ORG XMIT: 480784803

$169 for a ride from Beach Road to Ayer Rajah Crescent with Uber.

Running late for a meeting and in need of a ride from Beach Road to Ayer Rajah where her clients were, business manager, Ruby Lambert and her four colleagues decided to book a ride via Uber. When she received an email of the fare she had paid, she was ultimately shocked, $169 for a 27 minute ride.

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Was she in a limousine? No.

She did however have to pay for the surcharge due to the peak hour, she also picked the priciest option the app had to offer, UberExeclarge to accommodate the five of them.The base fare for that option was $10 with a spike in $0.60 every minute and $3.25 every kilometer. She could have flown to another country in South East Asia with a fare that much.

How much would it have cost her if she had booked a regular taxi?

$18, that’s how much a fare for the same journey would have cost her, even if she had to split cabs, it would still only have cost $36. A whopping $133 cheaper than what she had to pay to get to her meeting.

A spokesman for Uber said that they would always notify users through the app in bold print if surge pricing is in effect.

He added: “If the fare exceeds two times the normal rate, a multi-step confirmation screen appears and requires the rider to type in the price multiple to accept the higher fare.

“Users can also estimate the fare before requesting a ride by simply entering pick up and drop off locations in the app.”

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Uber prices will surge based on local events, when trains broke down in July this year, everyone was trying to book rides via Uber and prices surged by 5x the regular amount. However they’ve always prompted passengers on the app before they accept the booking.

While Ms Lambert has learnt her lesson, she says that she has no intention to stop using Uber but will probably be on the lookout for surge prices.
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