Uber has taken plenty of criticism for surge pricing, which occurs when the car service hikes fares during periods of high demand. But today, following up on a commitment from CEO Travis Kalanick, the company is taking a proactive approach to inform customers when surge rates will end. The latest Uber for iOS update includes a new "Surge Drop" feature that clearly informs ride-seekers if surge pricing is scheduled to end at their location within the next 30 minutes. "In addition to seeing clear information about surge pricing in the app, you’ll be able to wait it out for a cheaper ride and get notified if surge ends," reads a blog post on the addition. Users can tap "notify me when surge ends" to receive a push notification as soon as fares return to normal levels.
Uber's executives have vigorously defended surge pricing since the start. In their eyes, the higher pricing is necessary to keep drivers on the road during inclement weather, holidays, and other situations where demand can quickly overwhelm supply. Questionable business practices aside, Uber prioritizes reliability over affordability, and the company is quick to point out that surge pricing isn't going anywhere. "We’ll stay true to our pledge to get you the fastest ride available, and sometimes that will require surge pricing to get more drivers on the road," the company says. But Uber says it's making it easier than ever to "hold out for a ride that’s as affordable as it is reliable." Surge Drop will be available in most cities by the end of this week.