Uber to add push notifications when surge pricing subsides

By letting users know when fares become cheaper, the peer-to-peer car service's CEO says he's hoping to bring some "humanity to our communications."

Uber

Uber's surge pricing has proven to be a sure-fire way to get users up in arms. But, it appears the ride-sharing company is working to placate that anger.

The company's CEO Travis Kalanick announced Monday that Uber is planning to send app push notifications to users when surge pricing subsides -- that way, users will know when fares have returned to normal rates, according to GeekWire.

"One of our goals for 2014 is bringing humanity to our communications," Kalanick said at the Launch Festival on Monday, according to GeekWire.

Surge pricing is when Uber charges extra for a ride because there aren't enough drivers to meet the demand. It goes into effect during the most popular times of the day and on major holidays when people are ordering a lot of cars.

Kalanick said Monday that surge pricing typically only lasts for a short while because once it goes into effect more drivers move into the area, which then lowers the rates again.

Uber got lambasted by some customers for surge pricing on New Year's Eve in 2012. People criticized the service for raising prices as much as five times the normal rate.

Looking to avoid backlash this past New Year's Eve, the company forewarned users that surge pricing would be in effect for the night. The service also notified users via the app when surge pricing became twice as much or higher.

Uber's new surge pricing push notifications could be a response to its competitor Sidecar's announcement last week that its drivers could set their own prices. By being able to create their own rates, Sidecar drivers could take advantage of the time periods when Uber is experiencing a price surge.

When contacted by CNET, an Uber spokesperson said that the company will issue an update for surge drop notifications for the iOS app in coming weeks and will expand to other platforms in the future.

About the author

Dara Kerr, a freelance journalist based in the Bay Area, is fascinated by robots, supercomputers and Internet memes. When not writing about technology and modernity, she likes to travel to far-off countries.

 

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