How much will your Uber cost this Christmas?
Published 21 December 2016 by Linzi Nuttall
Beware of Uber’s surge prices if you’re travelling this festive season.
The chances are that this Christmas, you’ll go to a few parties or you’ll visit family and friends. And as it’s the party season, you might not want to take your car every time you go out.
Instead, you might decide to take a taxi to get you to your destination or the smartphone alternative, Uber. But if you’re looking to save money because you see Uber as a cheaper option, watch out. Uber can work out more expensive at certain times – we’ll take you through what to watch out for.
How to get an Uber
Uber doesn’t operate like a traditional taxi firm – you don’t flag them down or call them up. You need a smartphone to download the app and to book a taxi when you need it. The app shows you a map with taxis nearest to you, with an approximate time of when they’ll pick you up once you book and tell them where you’re going.
One key thing to look out for is the approximate cost of your journey as this isn’t fixed. Uber works this out per mile and can go up or down depending on how many people want to travel. And this is what you really need to keep an eye on over the festive season as if you don’t watch out, you could end spending a lot more than you realise.
When you’re booking an Uber at a really popular time or from a public location, you might see ‘surge pricing’. This is when Uber recognises there’s a high demand so it puts up the cost of the journey and you could pay substantially more for a journey.
Just make sure to keep an eye out for surge pricing before you grab an Uber, as there are stories of customers paying between up to four times more per mile. This means that a journey that would normally cost £5 could end being £20 instead. Of course, the flip side of this is that during quieter periods, Ubers can be cheaper than other taxi options. This is why Uber is becoming more and more popular.
With Christmas being a busy period, it’s possible that Uber isn’t the cheapest way to book your journey. Instead, it might be better to book a traditional cab in advance and settle on a price. You can speak to the telephone operator and agree this before you travel.
If you need a taxi last minute, check your Uber app and see what the surge price is. If it’s going to cost more than other taxi options, opt for something else. Another way to drop the cost is share with friends – you can split the bill between other people with the Uber app.