How to hack Uber surge-charge fares by 10-20%
USA Today - 10/29/2015
A study from Northeastern University researchers published Thursday, billed as “the first in-depth investigation of Uber,” offers some tangible tips — and other fascinating insights — about the mysterious algorithm that guides the country’s most popular ride-share service.
The bottom line: Uber’s surge-pricing algorithm, which is based on supply of drivers versus demand of rides needed, resets about every five minutes, and changes based on zones that are often close together. That’s just the knowledge you need to save a couple bucks (the study claims 10% to 20%) on your ride after the big game, impromptu thunderstorm, or any other instance where it feels like you and the rest of the world need a ride, stat.
“We see that around 40% of surges only last five minutes, while about 70% of surges last 10 minutes or less,” Christo Wilson, an assistant professor at Northeastern and one of the writers of the study, tells the USA TODAY Network in an email. He is in Tokyo presenting the findings at the Internet Measurement Conference. “This essentially means that if you observe surge prices on Uber, your best bet is to just wait it out, because they typically don’t last long.”