Like most of you, I use Uber after a night out in downtown Boise, a concert, or a drunk night with friends. But, what I didn’t know is that Uber drivers are taking advantage of us and we didn’t even know it.

So let me explain...

Ubers in downtown Boise waiting for a ride using uber
Canva Stock Images - Uber

I was in Austin, Texas for a wedding and had a very long Uber ride to our next destination which left a lot of time to chat with our driver. We had noticed how hard it was to get an Uber and how EXPENSIVE they were all of a sudden!

After mentioning this to our driver, he said it was because Uber drivers were “cheating the system” when it comes to events, popular pick-up times, and much more by creating a “fake” surge with their apps. We were there the same time as the famous "Formula 1" race and he said Ubers were taking full advantage of this. Let me tell you how.

Ubers in downtown Boise waiting for a ride using uber
Uber drivers are using this strategy to get paid more

How Uber Drivers are Abusing the App and It's Costing You BIG Time

We all know surges happen during busy times, but Uber drivers have found a way to "cheat the system" and take advantage of those in need of a ride during these predictable busy times, popular events, and much more by simulating a "fake surge." 

Let's take 2am on a Saturday night in downtown Boise for example. If you haven’t noticed, the price of an Uber skyrockets around this time. You may have attributed it to the flux of people leaving the clubs at closing time (which yes, this creates a natural surge in prices).

But, what you don’t know is that Uber drivers have found a way to maximize their earnings by tricking the app's algorithm. Since they also know there will be a high demand for rides at closing time, some drivers team up to create a this "fake surge."

Ubers in downtown Boise waiting for a ride using uber
Canva Stock Images - Uber Fake Surge

What's a "Fake Surge" and How Does it Work in Boise?

But what's a fake surge you ask? These groups of Uber Drivers park nearby a hotspot (like outside of a concert venue when it's supposed to end, at airports, or downtown at 2am) and turn off their driver apps, showing that they are not available. This sends the algorithm into surge mode, sending prices soaring. Basic supply and demand. They then collectively turn back on their apps once the prices have gone up significantly and rake in the profit.

How do I avoid being overcharged by Uber?

The best way to avoid these crazy Uber prices is to plan ahead of time. You can schedule Ubers (or Lyfts) and you'll get a flat rate for what a ride would cost at that time and location on any given day. This also gives you more time to get to your ride (usually a 5-10 minute window versus the regular 2 minutes) and helps you avoid the crazy surge charges!

Happy Ride Sharing!

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