Uber surge pricing shocks some Las Vegas riders

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The first Las Vegas weekend for Uber and Lyft is in the books, but not all the passengers are pleased with the service they received.

Like most weekends in Las Vegas there was a big event happening and that meant surge pricing was in effect, but some riders say those fares were up to three times the normal rate. The event was the iHeartRadio Music Festival and it drew thousands of people. 

“I purchased an Uber ride from my hotel to this hotel and that ride was fair. It was less than a mile and the fare was less than $10,” said Uber rider Tiffany Pulmas. 

Twenty minutes later, Pulmas ordered another Uber ride to the iHheartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

It was more than a 3-and-a-half mile ride.

“It said surge pricing 2 percent. I’m thinking okay, 2 percent more is not high, so okay, I’ll go ahead and do it,” she said.

But that 2 percent was actually 2.8 times the normal rate.

The regular fare would have been just more than $14.

But instead, Pulmas was charged $40.40 because of surge pricing.

“It was ridiculous, it was utter shock. I couldn’t believe it,” Pulmas said.

After the festival, she says she decided to take a cab back to her hotel for $15.

“So, I would definitely go with a taxi over Uber in Vegas,” she said.

“We feel the riding public is not being served the way they should,” said Sam Moffitt, Yellow Checker Star.

He is with the union that represents more than 2,100 local cab drivers.

Moffitt says their main concern is surge pricing, even though it may encourage more riders to take a cab instead of Uber or Lyft.

“Surge pricing is actually way times worse than long hauling ever thought about being,” he said.

Uber did not grant 8 News NOW an interview but told us they stand behind the business practice of surge pricing.  Uber said during times of peak demand – when there are not enough drivers on the system – fares increase so as to incentivize more drivers to come onto the platform.

Once demand falls or supply increases sufficiently, prices quickly go back to normal, according to Uber.

The company also said when using the app, passengers are made aware of the higher fares before requesting a ride.

“They do not have the information clearly for people and I can see how a lot of people got confused,” Pulmas said.

Meanwhile, 87 Uber and Lyft drivers have been cited for dropping off passengers at McCarran International Airport without a Clark County business license.

Last week, county commissioners denied the companies request for a temporary business license, but Uber and Lyft started operations after getting permission from the state.

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