Uber will cap surge pricing during the NYC blizzard if there's a state of emergency

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a blizzard set to clobber the east coast this weekend.

The Washington, D.C., area has already been pummelled by Winter Storm Jonas.

The blizzard watch in the New York City area has been upgraded to a blizzard warning, affecting all five boroughs, coastal parts of northeast New Jersey, and Long Island, from 4 a.m. EST Saturday through noon EST Sunday.

If you’re in New York City, and happen to hail an Uber during a time of high demand, expect to pay higher than usual fares — unless one of two things happens.

Speaking to The Verge, a spokesperson for Uber said: “If a state of emergency is declared, or the attorney general advises us the agreement has been triggered, then we will be capping uberX at 3.5x [the normal fare] and Uber BLACK at 2.8x, per the terms of the agreement.”

So far, there’s been no state of emergency declared in New York, and it’s not clear that there will be one.

During times of high demand — on weekend nights, on holidays, or during bad weather — Uber enacts surge pricing, which charges a multiplier on every fare during busy times. Uber says that by raising its prices, it encourages its supply — drivers — to get out on the road to keep up with increased demand.

In 2014, the New York attorney general’s office and Uber came to an agreement to cap Uber’s surge pricing during states of emergency. When the cap is in effect, Uber donates 20% of each fare — normally the company’s take after paying drivers — to the Red Cross. Uber has received criticism for its surge pricing during weather-related emergencies, including Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

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