How Hyderabadis Try To Beat Uber Surge Pricing

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In most confrontations between the global and local, oftentimes, the Glo brings a sweeping change too strong to resist, and the Lo gets swept off. The first local response to a global trend – either a welcoming acceptance or a resisting reluctance – has no consequence on the outcome – the global wins, and the local gets incorporated. Well, almost.

Despite it being a low percentage game, the Hyderabadi local does not mind having a go at the global; and treading a tedious and concocted path of argument, claims a win. One such goliath we attempt to take on, in vain, is surge pricing of Uber – the taxi app we so deeply love, but and during its surge hour, so strongly hate.

Never mind the Quixotic bravado; or vanity, but many Hyderabadis feel we have actually found those flaws in algorithms eluding the rest of the world.

“It is really very simple,” a little bird boasts. “Book an Uber; and if you see a surge, cancel. Try again. After three consecutive cancels, the surge will be off. Hee, hee, hee… I go on pay while my friends pay a surge. I found the magical workaround the surge.”

In stark contrast, instead of seeking a loophole in technology like little birdie, big wolf seeks to break the back of Uber surge with good old economics – setting competition against Uber; in his own favour.

“Two smart phones in two hands – one books Uber, one gets price from Ola – and I keep cancelling the trip after exactly four minutes. No cancellation fee. As they both bring their prices down one bid at a click… I hop on after getting the lowest fare point that I create for myself. Hoo, Hoo.”

I am intrigued enough to check on it before I get derisive about their claims. The man who handles some key features of Uber’s surge pricing algorithm globally is an old friend; and sadly for little bird and big wolf, a fellow Hyderabadi.

“Got those flaws checked and plugged first thing after I joined… lest Hyderabadi ingenuity beat us,” he responds, gleefully. Hee-ho, Hee-ho!

I decide to beat Uber my own way and take an autorickshaw. I am sure though that very soon autos drivers will be checking on Uber prices before giving us an offer, with the meter always being off and all.

Article was first published on BuzzFeed

Author: Sriram Karri

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