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Uber Keeps Drivers Off the Road So Prices Don’t Go Too Low

Excerpt from The Verge

Feb 26, 2014 10:40 am

Skift Take

Sometimes the invisible hand of the market is a little more concrete than others.

— Jason Clampet

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Lucy Nicholson  / Reuters

An Uber app is seen on an iPhone in Beverly Hills, California, December 19, 2013. Lucy Nicholson / Reuters


… this Valentines day, while traveling through San Diego in an Uber car, Lane heard something that disturbed him. “The driver had a Ford Sync system, and it read his text messages out loud.” The message, which came wedged between numerous texts about a promotion for free roses, said, “UberX is very close to SURGE. It’s Valentine’s Day! People will be out all night and we didn’t activate new drivers to make earnings even higher this weekend.”

Uber’s surge pricing has been a controversial feature of the company’s business for some time. It uses an algorithm to raise and lower the price based on demand. At extremely busy times, especially holidays, rates can be as many as seven times the normal price.

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