Lyft And Uber Pricing To Vary Widely On New Year’s Eve

Some cities are reporting discounted fares, but others expect a huge price hike.

Lyft picks up New Years Eve passengers
Josh Edelson / AP Images

Some cities are reporting discounted fares, but others expect a huge price hike.

Lyft and Uber have helped people safely ring in the New Year since 2012 and 2009, respectively, but they’ve also attracted a lot of controversy with their surge pricing. In a nutshell, pricing surges upward as demand escalates.

During a snowstorm in 2016, Uber charged one passenger $640.94 for a 30-mile ride. According to a Lyft driver, a 189-mile ride in 2017 cost $740.44 because of a 400 percent surge price. Even worse, a 2015 New Year’s Eve 37-mile Uber ride in Canada commanded a hefty $1,114 fee.

The demand for a quick, easy ride will almost certainly be higher than ever on New Year’s Eve as people seek to avoid accidents and drunk driving tickets. Intoxicated drivers also cause approximately 140 deaths nationwide on December 31, which can destroy the lives of everyone involved.

What Type Of Fare Can You Expect?

Lyft and Uber will be operating on New Year’s Eve in Washington, D.C. for the first time ever this year. Both companies have issued warnings that their fees are likely to go up due to the anticipated overwhelming demand. However, anyone who can get a ride before midnight or after 3 a.m. may be able to steer clear of the most exorbitant surge pricing.

Other large cities and new markets of all sizes should also be on the lookout for extravagant surge pricing. For example, Uber has already announced the high likelihood of increases in Upstate New York.

Uber driver picks up passenger in NYC
  Seth Wenig / AP

People who will be greeting the New Year in Buffalo, New York, are especially at risk for a bank account draining fee because the local taxi company, Liberty Cab, is staging a boycott on December 31. Anyone in the downtown area will not be able to get a ride from Liberty Cab before or after their holiday festivities.

Lyft And Uber Discounts For New Year’s Eve

Depending on where you live, Lyft pricing may not be all doom and gloom as you count down to the New Year. In fact, Portland, Oregon, residents can receive a $10 discount from 10 p.m. on New Year’s Eve until 4 a.m. on New Year’s Day. This discount comes courtesy of a partnership with the Vision Zero program. To participate, simply enter VISIONZERO into the discount code box.

Uber is also offering a $10 discount in Portland. Use discount code PDXNYE17 or VISIONZERO. Of course, Portland residents can also get a free ride on New Year’s Eve from TriMet.

Budweiser claims to be offering two $10 Lyft vouchers per person via their Give a Damn campaign. This impacts people in 10 states and is valid in Washington, D.C. and New York City. According to Lyft’s press release, a special code was supposed to be released at 2 p.m. EST on Budweiser’s Facebook and Instagram pages, but this doesn’t appear to have happened yet as of this writing.

Keep in mind that many cities are offering discounted or free rides on public transportation, including Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon. You might have to wait for an extended period of time due to the demand, but it’s better to wait than to get behind the wheel after drinking. Even if you do end up paying Lyft or Uber hundreds of dollars this New Year’s Eve, at least you won’t run the risk of harming yourself or someone else.