An interesting article in The Canberra Times this morning: "How much will an Uber cost you on New Year's Eve in Canberra?" It discusses surge pricing and offers advice from both Uber and the taxi industry on how to avoid it. The taxi guy says to take a taxi, which will avoid Uber's surge pricing, but pretty much guarantees you'll have to wait. There's only so many cabs on the road, and they aren't made of magic. When there's more passengers than cabs, some are going to dip out. The Uber guy gives some on-the-face-of-it good advice. Call your Uber at 23:59 before the rush starts. Well, in my experience, the rush doesn't start until sometime after midnight, when people have watched the fireworks, toasted the new year, sung a song, found their bags, said goodbyes and made their way to the door. A process that often consumes several hours. As I discovered, surge pricing is determined by the system comparing the number of rider and driver apps open at any one time in a particular area. Drivers are going to be logged in, and their numbers will remain fairly constant. But passengers don't open the Uber app until they are thinking about calling one up. Follow the Uber advice, open the Uber app at 23:59, and if enough people do it, that will create an instant surge. I'll take exception with something the taxi guy said in the same article: "You don't have to accept the surge pricing – you can wait for a taxi, it's been proven taxis are quicker anyway." Proven by whom? I had a job yesterday. I was in Braddon, mulling over the temporary outage (I was online, but the pax app said there were no Ubers available – not even me) when it ended; I got a call to a Bruce address. It took me ten minutes to drive there, I picked up my passenger, and he said that he'd given up on getting an Uber because there were none showing on the map, but suddenly I appeared and he'd called me. As we drove off, we passed a taxi heading the other way. "There's your cab," I said, joking. "Oh yeah, I called a taxi because there were no Ubers available." He'd called a cab, which would have been on the rank outside the Belconnen mall before he called me, and I'd driven longer and further than the cab, which arrived afterwards. Admittedly, that was a bit after dawn, when driving is quick, but even then the cab should have been faster. There were only a few Uber cars on the road, but every day shift cabbie would be up and about. Later on, with more drivers logged in, there would have been even less delay calling an Uber. The closest car would have got the ping, and that would likely have been in the same suburb. Or just around the corner. Often I've literally only been a few metres away from a ping.