Uber, the luxury cab service that launched in South Africa last year is set to roll out an update to all of its iPhone wielding customers within the week that will allow for push notifications to be sent through to users who want to know when surge pricing is over.
Uber has come under fire in recent months for its surge pricing policies which has seen an avalanche of complaints flooding their Twitter accounts, even in South Africa. For those who have never experienced surge pricing, it’s a mechanism that essentially ensures that there will always be enough supply of drivers and cars no matter how much demand there is for lifts at any given time.
Uber manages the supply by exponentially increasing the price of rides per kilometre by adding a surge pricing multiplier that kicks in when there are too many people requesting lifts for the amount of drivers on the road. It then notifies the rest of the drivers in the network that surge pricing is in effect, which will mean more money for them per lift which in turn gets more drivers on the road to match the demand. Once demand settles, the surge pricing falls away and things return to normal.
Surge pricing has shocked some users in the past, especially those who had never heard of it until they saw the drastic effects on their rates. Local Uber branches tried to communicate this expedited cost by sending out an email before New Years eve when demand usually peaks but unfortunately what the app lacked before was the ability to notify users of when surge pricing had ended.
Within the next week iOS users should see the update come down which will give them the option to be notified once surge pricing is no longer in effect (as in the picture below), hopefully the Android version of the app will get the update soon as well.