When we build products at Uber, we want the user to have a great experience – convenient, classy and reliable. That means that our products are easy to use, that the service is available when you need it and that you have the information you need to use the service as you see fit.

During Halloween and New Year’s Eve last year, we turned on surge pricing to handle the extreme demand generated by these holidays. For the uninitiated, surge pricing helps maximize the number of Uber cars on the system during times of extreme demand, maximizing the chance that there will be a car available when you need one. For more details, see our post on Surge Pricing.

Following New Year’s, we received a fair amount of feedback to improve the UI around surge pricing to make it clearer and more straight-forward. We’ve taken that feedback and iterated on the UI to provide clear and concise messaging in our iPhone and Android applications at any time that surge pricing needs to be in effect, be that special events or peak times.

So, in our latest app update, we’ve updated our surge pricing messaging. Our goal is to give you the information you need to make a decision about using Uber at times of extreme demand. During these times, here’s what you’ll see in the Uber app when you request a car:

 

  1. Average Fare: We calculate this range based on the average trip to give you an idea of what your total fare will be at the current rate. This number may vary for your particular trip, depending on a number of factors including the length of your trip, traffic and additional stops.
  2. Surge Pricing Rate: This is the rate at which your fare will be multiplied. The average fare factors this in.
  3. Timer: When your rate is 30 seconds from expiring, we’ll let you know so that you can choose whether to request or cancel.
  4. Expiration: When your rate has expired, you’ll have the option to request again and get the most updated rate.

Uber’s job is to bring efficiency to the world of car service. Surge pricing allows us to maximize the number of cars on the road and ultimately provide you with a reliable ride back home at the end of the night. With more transparency and an improved UI, we aim to give you everything you need to make the right decision for you during these rare demand spikes.