Uber Knows You’ll Pay Surge Pricing If Your Phone Is Dying

Photo: Courtesy of Uber.
Everyone knows that the best way to avoid paying Uber's surge pricing is to wait it out. If you can wait 15 minutes, chances are, the surge price will go away. But what if you can't? According to Uber's internal data, riders are more likely to take on surge-priced fares when their phone is nearing the end of its battery life. That information was revealed when Uber's head of economic research, Keith Chen, appeared on a recent episode of NPR's Hidden Brain podcast. Chen shared some insight on human behaviour that Uber has noticed — and the trend in surge pricing was just one bit of insider information. It also makes sense. Anyone with a fully charged phone can wait and see if Uber's surge pricing might let up. But for people on their last 10% of battery life, it's a completely different story. According to Mashable, Uber can tell when your phone's battery is low because its app collects information when you switch to power-saving mode. But Uber said it would never use that knowledge to get more money from its customers. "We absolutely don’t use that to [...] push you a higher surge price, but it’s an interesting kind of psychological fact of human behaviour," Chen said on the podcast.

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