2014 New Year's Eve: How to Avoid Surge Pricing on Uber's Busiest Night

Car service app Uber expects 2 million rides in 24 hours starting Wednesday.

ByABC News
December 30, 2014, 11:26 AM

— -- Car service company Uber says it expects to deliver more than 2 million rides in 24 hours this New Year's Eve, its "busiest night ever." That means Uber app users should be on the alert for surge pricing that can cause driving services to multiply by as much as seven times.

While the demand for cars will exceed available drivers, Uber may make as much as $100 million in revenue on New Year's Eve, says Business Insider, though a company spokeswoman declined to comment to ABC News.

To avoid previous snafus, when many users fumed at higher prices, Uber offers tips explaining when to request a car and how to navigate pricing.

Uber, which doesn't cap prices, reminds users that you’ll be notified in advance and asked to confirm increased rates. You can also estimate your fare before requesting a car.

An informational video from Uber explains surge pricing.

Uber defends surge pricing as incentives for drivers to pick up customers during busy times, such as when people were trying to clear out of downtown Sydney during a hostage situation two weeks ago. But after a public backlash in that case, Uber said it would refund customers who were subject to surge pricing and offered free rides that day.

An informational video from Uber explains surge pricing.

As for the worst time to request an Uber car on New Year's Eve, Uber expects the highest demand -- and fares -- between 12:30 and 2:30 a.m. local time.

Uber published this infographic on their blog explaining expected New Year's Eve surge pricing.

"For the most affordable rides, request right when the ball drops at midnight or wait until later for prices to return to normal," Uber says, adding users can be notified when prices drop. Uber is available in over 260 cities in 53 countries.

Competitor Lyft’s “Prime Time” New Year's Eve maximum will be double the normal 200 percent cap.

Alternative options include Flywheel, an app that hails taxis in San Francisco, Sacramento, Seattle and San Diego that will offer flat $10 rides from 8 p.m. Wednesday until 3 a.m. Thursday. Another app, SurgeProtector, aims to show Uber users the nearest "no-surge zone," which at times can be just blocks away.

If you can't afford a ride, you could consider spending the night in with hotel apps like Hotel Tonight, which immediately finds cheaper hotel deals around you.