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Uber and Lyft Drivers Are "Hacking" Surge Prices: Here's How They Do It


If you ever cracked open your Uber app and felt like there was some grand surge-pricing conspiracy going on, you may be right.

It's always frustrating when you're about to catch a ride that usually costs $10 and then when you whip out your phone you're hit with a crazy $50 price hike that seemingly came out of nowhere. This is especially true when it happens at a time that's normally "quiet."

And by "quiet" I mean that there aren't a lot of people requesting Uber/Lyft fares, so the app's algorithm adjusts the prices to be a bit more competitive to match demand. A huge factor that plays into this algorithm are the number of drivers that are available to cart people to and from their jobs, social gatherings, airports, Miami Vice-themed birthday parties, etc.

You may have always had a suspicion that something "fishy" was going on with these out-of-the-blue surge pricings, and as it turns out, not all of them are coincidental. WJLA, a local ABC 7 news station reported on "artificial surge prices" at Reagan National Airport and discovered that Uber and Lyft drivers were all hacking their apps in order to drive up passenger fares.