Uber Switching To Upfront Pricing Model, Ditching Surge Icon (While Keeping Surge Prices)

Image courtesy of JLaw45

While Uber is changing its app to make it easier for customers to see what they’ll pay for a ride upfront, the new version will make it harder to know when “surge pricing” has taken hold.

Uber announced Thursday that its ride-hailing app will now require customers to enter their destination when requesting a ride. The app will then show them how much they’re likely to pay — but there will be no more thunderbolt of doom, the “surge pricing” icon, to indicate when fares are going to be higher.

Instead of showing multiples of how much more a ride will be and asking riders if they’re willing to pay that — 1.5X or 2X, for example — the fare you’ll pay will appear with a message that “fares are higher due to increased demand.”

Drivers who want to chase after those juicy surge fares will still be able to see a heat map showing which areas of a city have higher and lower surge pricing, Uber said.

Though the change will make it harder to tell how much more you’re paying than normal, Uber says the change is a good one for customers and easier to understand, because of course it says that:

“Imagine buying an airline ticket without knowing the full fare until the end of your trip. Or booking a hotel room online and being told that the real price would be 1.3X,” the company explained in its blog. “Yes, that sounds odd—but it’s what happens with many Uber trips today.”

Uber said the changeover to upfront fares started in April for regular uberX trips in some U.S. cities and in India, and more will follow as part of the new app’s rollout.