Uber predicts it will have its biggest night ever tonight, estimating it will provide 2 million rides to people coming home from bars and parties after ringing in the new year.
When there’s high demand for Uber on holidays like New Year’s Eve, there’s also bound to be surge pricing, a feature most Uber users aren’t crazy about.
Surge pricing happens when there’s a high demand for Uber in one particular area. During times of high demand — on weekend nights, on holidays, or during bad weather — Uber puts surge pricing into effect, and you get charged a multiplier of what your fare would typically be. Uber says that by raising its prices, it encourages its supply — drivers — to get out on the road to keep up with increased demand.
If you’re looking for a way to skip surge pricing altogether, an app called SurgeProtector might solve your problems.
SurgeProtector was released in November. It uses Uber’s API, which became available in August, to find places close to you that don’t have surge pricing. Once it locates a place nearby without surge pricing, SurgeProtector redirects you back to Uber’s app so you can call an Uber to a surge-less place.
One of the app’s developers, Thomas Schmidt, said on Product Hunt that he and his roommate created the app in about a weekend, and that Uber has been “super cool with supporting our API requests.”
“We have an algorithm that calls locations around you that tries to get a regular price — it’s surprisingly granular,” Schmidt told Ars Technica. “In places with high population density, it will be a difference of two to three blocks over, it can go from 2x surging to nothing. It’s super useful in San Francisco.”
If SurgeProtector can’t find a place within a kilometer of you without surge pricing, it will find you a place close by with the lowest surge pricing instead.
The downside is, of course, that you may have to walk a few blocks to get to your Uber’s location. But it might be worth it if you’re trying to avoid a high fare.