Already nervous about getting home safe on the busiest night of the year, New Year’s Eve? If you decide to forgo a traditional taxi cab, there are myriad options to choose from. But be warned, many of these novel ride-sharing services have already issued warnings that prices will be sky-high.
Transportation services, including Lyft, SideCar and Uber are hiking up costs to ensure that drivers will be incentivized to work until the wee hours of the morning. If you’re planning to use one of these services, be aware of the costs so you won’t wake up in the morning with a raging hangover, and an unexpected $200 credit card charge.
Don’t forget there’s always public transit, which typically operates later than usual to accommodate the crowds. Or if you’re in New York City, plan on walking everywhere to avoid the mass confusion and hysteria that typically unfolds in New Year’s.
Don’t be surprised when you’re handed a $200 bill for a short ride in an Uber town car. Pricing will be through the roof on New Year’s Eve, and this year, the company is being more transparent than ever. Uber, the posh ride-sharing service, has a pricing model which allows prices to surge during periods of intense demand. To avoid rankling its users, the company released a blog post today warning that it’s “going to be a crazy night and Ubers are going to be pricey.”
Expected cost: $100 + for a short ride.
Benefits? The predictability of the service; you can expect a classic black sedan or SUV curbside in minutes.
Drawbacks? The price. One user was charged $75 for a 2 minute cab ride.
Locations: San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, New York, Dallas, Denver, Phoenix, San Diego, Atlanta, Seattle. See full list here.
Lyft has not formally declared that donations will be higher on New Year’s, but to incentive drivers, it will be matching all donations paid to drivers between 7 p.m. and 3 a.m. The company told the San Francisco Chronicle that they would also be hosting a party for its drivers at the company headquarters.
Expected cost: The usual donation-based fare, which is marginally cheaper than a taxi.
Benefits: Goody bags with water and snacks for riders.
Drawbacks: There is no guarantee that drivers will be working on New Years’. It won’t be easy to hail a Lyft — expect to be glued to your mobile device to snap up any moustache-bearing car that becomes available.
Locations: San Francisco.
SideCar warned users via email that suggested donations will be doubled on New Year’s. Uber can set prices (although it technically doesn’t employ its drivers) but SideCar thrives in a shared economy. Drivers are non-professional, and payment is donation-based. With this announcement, SideCar is taking a leaf from Uber’s book, but I’m skeptical that drunken revelers will pay double the usual rate if they don’t have to.
Expected cost: A donation that is double the usual fare.
Benefits?: It will be a darn sight cheaper than an Uber.
Drawbacks?: You’ll be lucky to get a SideCar. Drivers aren’t formally employed or working on shifts, so there is less incentive for them to get behind the wheel on New Years’. And with no guarantee that users will actually pay the hiked up donation, expect fewer SideCar drivers on the road.
Locations: Primarily on the West Coast.
Luxor Cabs is offering free rides within San Francisco for people heading home from bars or restaurants. Riders should remember to mention “Berg Injury Lawyers”, the program’s sponsor, and a ride that costs less than $35 will be absolutely free.
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