Johannesburg - Fees for ride-hailing service Uber are set to skyrocket from regular pricing amid heavy demand on New Year's Eve.
The price of an Uber on the last day of 2017 and on New Year's day will be proportionate to the number of drivers on the road, and demand from riders.
In an explainer video, Uber says its surge pricing is meant to encourage more Uber drivers to get on roads to provide transport for customers.
Uber says the escalated fee will be displayed before the rider confirms the Uber pick-up.
According to Uber’s website, users will see a number on the map on their device to show how much the regular fares have been increased when prices are surging.
“You might see surge at 1.8x or 2.5x. This is how much your base fare will be multiplied by, so a fare that is usually $10 would be $18 when it’s at 1.8x surge. Uber’s fee percentage does not change during surge pricing,” the company says.
Rates are based on the demand of the service in real time.
“Surge pricing is also specific to different areas in a city, so some neighbourhoods may have surge pricing at the same time as other neighbourhoods do not," says Uber.
"Surge pricing on the map shows the price that will apply to riders using the Uber app in that area. The rider’s location determines the amount of surge pricing on a trip, not the driver’s location."
Steep increases in Uber's prices during busy periods have caused irritation among commuters, especially those who are not aware of how the concept works.
Surcharges came into the spotlight when a Cape Town father cried foul after he paid R2 800 for a 35km trip from Clifton to Muizenberg on New Year's Eve in 2015.
In response, Uber has been trying to change the conversation from the price hikes to how the pricing format helps ensure there are more Uber drivers on the roads during extremely busy times.
"During times of high demand for rides, fares may increase to make sure those who need a ride can get one. For riders, surge helps ensure that pickup is available quickly and reliably," it states on its website.
"For driver-partners, surge means higher fares and a steady stream of ride requests."