Uber’s business has long relied on surge pricing: When there’s demand for rides, and not enough cars, the cost per ride goes up to incentivize drivers to meet the demand.
That’s the company line and it’s all fine and dandy — except when surge pricing prices you out of using the service altogether, or when there’s a natural disaster and people are in danger.
Starting today, Uber is bringing surge pricing to UberEATS, the food delivery service it operates in cities across the U.S. and abroad. At least for now, Uber says the rollout is limited to “select cities … where demand is high but delivery partners are scarce.” We’ve reached out to the company for more details.
Uber is not always “cheaper than a taxi,” and UberEATS probably isn’t going to be the cheapest way for you to buy lunch, but it may be one of the quickest ways to order it (in some cities), and that’s Uber’s goal. “This is an important step to ensure the reliability of our network and continue to offer the same selection and speed UberEATS is known for,” Uber project manager Ben Dreier said on the company’s blog.