Uber fans defend price surge policy

This screenshot from the Uber app was taken at 2:00 on January 1, 2015.
This screenshot from the Uber app was taken at 2:00 on January 1, 2015.

Cape Town – Uber fans have hit back at critics of the transport app’s price surge policy, saying customers have a choice and should understand the basic economics of the pricing model.

Fin24 user Damon Za said too many people don't understand basic economics.

“The surge charge pricing only applies when there is overwhelming demand, which the normal supply (the drivers) cannot meet.

“If 1000 people need a ride from 100 drivers, who determines which 900 people miss out? The surge charge policy pricing automatically sorts that out. The 100 people who are prepared to pay will get the rides - everyone has a choice to accept the price or not.

“If there was no surge charge pricing, then 900 people will have NO choice at all - there would simply be no supply for them. When there is surge charge pricing, there is also the option to be notified when the surge ends. So anybody is welcome to wait a few hours until they pay the normal price, or just call a different taxi service - after all, they do have their phones with them.

“Uber is doing very well because they provide a great service. Competitors should be encouraged to start up a similar service, as this will increase the supply of cars and drivers and decrease the amount of surge pricing.

Fin24 user Craig Whittington said people complaining about price have neglected to mention the service they received.

“There are a finite amount of resources available and you are clearly provided with pricing before committing to your journey.

“If you are unwilling to pay the price you need to make alternate arrangements. When there are no tomatoes in season prices can change up to 1000% per kg. Are readers honestly proposing that a suppliers’ price should be regulated by the consumer?

“Consumers have a choice. If they are not rational enough to make the decision at the time then they should not make it at all. Uber has an amazing framework and I think consumers should take responsibility for their own decisions rather than discrediting a company for their own ineptitude.

Fin24 user Jonty Pieters said the public outcry was outrageous.

“Firstly, I must have seen about five different messages warning me about the surge pricing pre-New Year’s Eve. This was via email, when I opened the app and through various platforms such as my Facebook newsfeed and I have even seen an article on News24 about it.

“Secondly, no one is forcing these people to use the service? What did they all do before Uber? Sit around and wait for an incompetent taxi service or, as some have alluded to, drive home under the influence?

“The drunk-driving mind set is so firmly instilled in some people in South Africa that they almost put the blame on Uber by saying we tried to be responsible, but Uber ripped us off so next time we will just take our chances on the roads again. What a backwards mentality.

“Uber clearly states when you book the taxi how much they going to charge for your trip. If you don't want use it, then remain sober for the night and drive home. If you are too drunk to see the price and make an informed decision, don't use the app! It's as simple as that and pretty straight forward in my eyes.”

* Do you have a similar story to tell or do you have ideas that could improve the way Uber works? Let us know now.
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