Surge pricing at airport for pickups

Old Mar 17, 17, 2:05 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: gggrrrovvveee (ORD)
Programs: UA silver, Marriott Gold, Hilton Gold
Posts: 6,034
Surge pricing at airport for pickups

Recently started using ridesharing services to/from the airport. Interesting experience last night at ORD (Thu night is usually pretty heavy).

Typical fare to get home is usually around $37-38. Tried Uber first - quoted me $63 due to surge pricing. I was pretty shocked, to say the least. Then tried Lyft. Quoted me about $38.xx. No apparent Prime Time add-on. Obviously went with Lyft.

Are these surge/prime time rate increases (about a 65-70% fare increase) fairly typical for Uber? Lyft definitely seems more reasonable in their pricing, probably b/c they're not as popular yet.
gobluetwo is offline  
Old Mar 17, 17, 7:49 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: New England
Programs: DL GM, UA, B6, AA, WN, AS, AGR
Posts: 4,218
Surge occurs when the demand for rides exceeds the number of drivers in a given area. Lyft wasn't in Prime Time because the demand did not exceed the number of drivers in the area. Surge/Prime Time can be caused by a lot of people requesting rides, or if there aren't very many drivers in that area. I usually try both apps, and go with whichever one costs less.
diburning is offline  
Old Mar 18, 17, 10:48 am
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: gggrrrovvveee (ORD)
Programs: UA silver, Marriott Gold, Hilton Gold
Posts: 6,034
I know what surge pricing is, but wondering if the magnitude is usual. A 65% increase seems high to me, but as I said before, relatively new to using these services from the airport.
gobluetwo is offline  
Old Mar 18, 17, 11:27 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: SFO
Programs: UA 1.050MM, PersonalCar 0.275MM
Posts: 1,718
OP, consider if you're a part time Uber or Lyft driver, not originally planning to drive at that time, what would it take to motivate you (and others like you sitting on the sidelines) to drop what you're doing and get into your car and sign into the service as a driver.

I don't have to like the pricing, and I really hate Uber's decision to make the surge pricing much more opaque (you now only get told the current price and not that it is surge and what the surge multiple is), but I don't begrudge the amount of surge in most situations.

I'm not a regular Lyft user. Does Lyft currently disclose the Prime Time multiple when it quotes you the pricing?
pshuang is offline  
Old Mar 18, 17, 12:00 pm
  #5  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DCA
Programs: UA US CO AA DL FL
Posts: 49,967
Both services use the multiple (different name same idea). The good news is that you can save approximately 66% over a taxi. The bad news is that it can cost as much as 400% over a taxi if you hit it completely wrong.

The Prime Time (or Surge) multiple is designed to get a driver who would not ordinarily come out and work to do so. The more he is offered, the more likely he is to drop what he is doing and head for a Prime Time (or Surge) zone.

You saw a differential between Lyft and Uber because there were more Lyft drivers or less Lyft demand at ORD at that moment. 15 minutes later, it might be the other way around.
Often1 is offline  
Old Mar 19, 17, 1:04 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: East Coast, USA
Posts: 1,020
Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
The Prime Time (or Surge) multiple is designed to get a driver who would not ordinarily come out and work to do so. The more he is offered, the more likely he is to drop what he is doing and head for a Prime Time (or Surge) zone.
Bolding mine. I am beginning to stay away from Uber/Lyft at LAX because the drivers won't respond if there's no surge. Lately, it seems that LAX is all surge, all the time, so the drivers are getting worse and won't pick up if there is "only" 1.5X or 2X surge and wait for bigger surges (personal experience, multiple times)

Compounding the fact is that people request when they touch down, inside the plane, so I see tons of drivers just left hanging at the pick up areas looking for the requesters, and leading to even more shortage/surge.
radiowell is offline  
Old Mar 19, 17, 4:18 pm
  #7  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DCA
Programs: UA US CO AA DL FL
Posts: 49,967
Those people are willing to pay for a vehicle to sit around (or more to the point drive around) and wait for them. With both services, the "wait" time is part of the fare.

That is foolish at LAX where my experience is that it's 2-3 minutes for an Uber, so I'm not sure what good it does to have one sitting around and then having the cops tell the guy to drive around.
Often1 is offline  
Old Mar 20, 17, 8:32 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: PHX, SEA
Programs: DL Silver, Avis President's Club, Hertz President's Circle, Global Entry (Former AA Plt/Gold)
Posts: 4,104
At PHX, drivers must be in one of three special staging areas (geofenced) and are FIFO like a taxi. This surely affects the number of drivers willing to participate, and could lead to more surges (I have not used Uber to give a personal experience).

https://www.uber.com/drive/phoenix/a...ix-sky-harbor/

Edit: It apparently is true of EWR as well (must be on property to get ride requests)
https://www.uber.com/nyc-drivers/airports/ewr/
Gig103 is offline  
Old Mar 20, 17, 10:30 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: New England
Programs: DL GM, UA, B6, AA, WN, AS, AGR
Posts: 4,218
ORD is like that as well. It's impossible to request a ride from the Hilton since it's in airport property. The app makes me go to the rideshare loading area.

Last edited by diburning; Jun 2, 17 at 3:53 pm
diburning is offline  
Old Jun 2, 17, 11:03 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Atlanta
Programs: Uber, Lyft, Skymiles, Thanksagain, Hertz Gold Presidents Club
Posts: 54
Originally Posted by radiowell View Post
Bolding mine. I am beginning to stay away from Uber/Lyft at LAX because the drivers won't respond if there's no surge. Lately, it seems that LAX is all surge, all the time, so the drivers are getting worse and won't pick up if there is "only" 1.5X or 2X surge and wait for bigger surges (personal experience, multiple times)

Compounding the fact is that people request when they touch down, inside the plane, so I see tons of drivers just left hanging at the pick up areas looking for the requesters, and leading to even more shortage/surge.
A couple of things...

1. You have a part of the answer yourself pax doing things like requesting cars LONG before they are ready. That sucks up supply and increases demand which in turn increases the price.

2. In most cities (read almost all) Uber/Lyft is significantly cheaper than taxis and way more convenient the public transportation. If you hate the price go with another form of transportation and deal with the cons on that side.

3. Airport Uber/Lyft is not like everywhere else where the closest driver gets the call. Instead drivers are forced to sit and wait for their "turn". So either a driver wastes gas driving away from the airport (which causes surges b/c there are no cars) or the driver wastes time waiting (so the driver wants to make up for the loss of wages hence the 1.5 or better threshold).

4. All of the time FlyerTalk member use the term "fair market rate". That is a misnomer b/c Uber/Lyft rates have nothing to do with the cost of taxis, rental cars, limos, busses, you know the transportation market.

Forgive me for mansplaining:
The transportation market (taxis and limos) complained that Uber/Lyft was undercutting the fair market rate for transportation without regulation. It's hard to regulate a private citizen/person on a public road giving a private person a ride. Except the airport because it's technically not public. Airports tend to be away from everything (so drivers are only there to drop off/pick up), have a limited number of drivers that can be there (capped supply) and only allow vehicles of a certain age and class to pick up (further capping supply).
All of that caused the airport became the one area where drivers can set "fair market rates" based on what they personally choose which is what Uber/Lyft's so-called "independent contractors" should be able to do anyway.
john2g1 is offline  
Old Jun 3, 17, 7:18 am
  #11  
Moderator Hilton Honors, Travel News, West, The Suggestion Box, Smoking Lounge & DiningBuzz
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Programs: AS MVP Gold, Honors Diamond, Hertz Presidents Circle, National Exec Elite
Posts: 34,436
Last month, I needed a ride from ORD to near MDW. In the space of 10 minutes I kept re-checking both Uber and Lyft. Over that time fares ranged from ~$42 to $88.
cblaisd is offline  
Old Jun 3, 17, 6:37 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Pasadena,Ca.,US.
Programs: AA, Delta, United, SPG plat, Hyatt dia
Posts: 7,115
Originally Posted by radiowell View Post
Bolding mine. I am beginning to stay away from Uber/Lyft at LAX because the drivers won't respond if there's no surge. Lately, it seems that LAX is all surge, all the time, so the drivers are getting worse and won't pick up if there is "only" 1.5X or 2X surge and wait for bigger surges (personal experience, multiple times)

Compounding the fact is that people request when they touch down, inside the plane, so I see tons of drivers just left hanging at the pick up areas looking for the requesters, and leading to even more shortage/surge.
They are playing a game. The drivers sit in the cell phone lot and say "not available" and conspire with friends/other drivers to do the same. When Surge pricing hits then all of the sudden they are available again.
I hate it!
bigguyinpasadena is offline  
Old Jun 4, 17, 6:48 am
  #13  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Programs: DL 1 million, AA 1 mil, HH lapsed Diamond, Marriott Plat
Posts: 28,192
Originally Posted by bigguyinpasadena View Post
They are playing a game. The drivers sit in the cell phone lot and say "not available" and conspire with friends/other drivers to do the same. When Surge pricing hits then all of the sudden they are available again.
I hate it!
Examples of successful collusion across large groups of independent individuals are pretty rare. How many Uber drivers are there in LA? It only takes one or two to start grabbing rides while other drivers sit - then the dike crumbles quickly.
3Cforme is offline  
Old Jun 17, 17, 1:11 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Let me check my Logbook
Programs: Southwest Rapid Rewards; AAdvantage; Alaska Mileage Plan; Wyndham Rewards; Choice Hotels
Posts: 2,087
Last time I took uber from LAX, on the 10th of June, it cost 38.10$ not too far removed from the 35$ and some change it often takes for me to go from my residence to LAX.

However the previous time, on the 20th of May, I initially saw a surge price of 86$ and some change. I waited awhile and saw a price I deemed still too high. Then I had trouble even contacting a ride for any price for a time. I forget how long it was but it was well over an hour maybe closer to two before I finally got an uber ride at 41.48$ which I decided I could live with as Super Shuttle is 40$ not including tip and there would have been another wait with Super Shuttle.

Also I always go to the designated pick up point or very close thereunto before requesting a ride.
Loose Cannon is offline  
Old Jun 29, 17, 11:38 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Atlanta
Programs: Uber, Lyft, Skymiles, Thanksagain, Hertz Gold Presidents Club
Posts: 54
Originally Posted by Loose Cannon View Post
Last time I took uber from LAX, on the 10th of June, it cost 38.10$ not too far removed from the 35$ and some change it often takes for me to go from my residence to LAX.

However the previous time, on the 20th of May, I initially saw a surge price of 86$ and some change. I waited awhile and saw a price I deemed still too high. Then I had trouble even contacting a ride for any price for a time. I forget how long it was but it was well over an hour maybe closer to two before I finally got an uber ride at 41.48$ which I decided I could live with as Super Shuttle is 40$ not including tip and there would have been another wait with Super Shuttle.

Also I always go to the designated pick up point or very close thereunto before requesting a ride.
So I feel like there are four things:
  1. Congrats on using common sense and comparing options instead of complaining
  2. You having trouble at any price disproves the collusion theories sometimes no one wants to drive late at night for pennies per mile
  3. If paying drivers what they feel entitled to is an issue use another form of transportation; apparently UberX (a door to door service like limos and taxis) is still cheaper than Super Shuttle a timed bus/van!!!
  4. Super Shuttle, taxis, limos all get tips why is it sacrilege to tip the lowest paid cheapest transportation out there?
john2g1 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: