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How To Avoid Surge Pricing On Ride Sharing Apps

While ride sharing apps are still (for the most part) less expensive than taxis, the crazy demand for them has made their prices spike.

Remember when people started using Uber because it was the cheapest option out there? Times have changed. While ride sharing apps are still (for the most part) less expensive than taxis, the crazy demand for them has made their prices spike. Never mind if it’s the holidays, rush hour or if there’s bad weather.

Lyft and Uber say that surge pricing, which can be up to four times the original price of the ride, is used to reduce the amount of riders, but no one wants to pay an outrageous amount of money just to move to another place. Here’s how you can prevent the hassle.

Walk a little  

A couple of blocks can make a big difference for price hikes, especially since these are determined by “zones.” For example, if you’re leaving a bar and are located in a street where there’s a bunch of other bars and people, move up a street or two and your price might change significantly. If you see no changes, you can also try waiting it out. According to a study conducted by Northeastern University, the price of ride sharing tends to change every 5 minutes.

Schedule rides in advance

Scheduling rides in advance works well for trips to airports or when you know you need to be somewhere at a certain time. While Uber charges you the minute your ride gets scheduled, Lyft locks your price the moment you schedule the ride. Of course, the app will make some assumptions depending on the schedule of your ride, but you’ll probably end up saving some money regardless.

RELATED: Uber Will Now Let Your Pet Ride For An Extra Fee

uber offers quiet mode for passengers who dont feel like talking
Photo courtesy of Uber

Refer friends for a free ride

Most ride sharing apps give you discounts and free rides if you refer friends who don’t already have the app on their phones. This works well if you live in a place where there’s a variety of ride sharing apps such as Waze carpool, Juno and more.

Use carpooling

The pool options on Lyft and Uber tend to be significantly cheaper than the private rides. While this route is slightly unpredictable since you never know how many people will join your ride and how long the overall trip will take, it’s an option worth considering if you’re in no rush and are looking to save a few bucks.

RELATED: Uber Drivers May Squeal On You If You Smell Like Marijuana

Photo courtesy of Lyft

Compare prices with other apps

It’s a delicate balance relying on your phone for everything and also keeping the app count to a minimum, but everyone needs to at least have Lyft and Uber on them so they can compare and contrast prices. The difference between apps is stark at times, especially during rush hours. Also, don’t forget that these apps provide periodic discounts and offers that apply only to you and that have nothing to do with rush hour.

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