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Uber to Downplay Surge Pricing

If you use Uber to get around when you're on vacation (or when you're home), you'll soon see a change in the ride-sharing service's most hated feature. That would be surge pricing, of course, which activates when demand for rides increases—on New Year's Eve, say, or during rush hour. Request an Uber during surge-pricing periods and you could pay up to six times the regular fare.

Uber isn't doing away with surges; it's just changing how they're presented to users. In the latest, soon-to-launch version of Uber's app, surge-pricing warnings—a lightning bolt that shows up on the home screen and a pop-up box that fills you in—will no longer be there. Instead, you'll get what the company calls an "upfront fare" telling you what you can expect to pay. During busy periods, a small message will appear under the predicted rate reading, "Fares are higher due to increased demand."

So surge pricing will still be in effect at certain times—you'll just be less likely to notice. Or check fares at a competitor like Lyft.