It's New Year's Eve, it's freezing, and at some point tonight after several glasses of champagne and hours spent standing in uncomfortable shoes, you're probably going to want to hail a cab and get the hell home. But, as New Yorkers know, that's not as easy as it sounds when the entire city is out partying. And Uber isn't making it any easier: They released a list of NYE "pro tips" on their NYC blog that basically said if you want to catch an UberX between 12:15am and 3am, be prepared to pay through the nose for unlimited surge pricing (read: "Screw you, loyal customers!").
So, what to do, besides pray for a fairy godmother to whisk you away in a pumpkin carriage? Here are some tips to make your NYE ride less costly and stressful:
- Use other apps that don't seem to hate their own customers so much! Mustachioed car service Lyft will be in operation, but keep in mind they'll be rolling out undefined "prime time" rates tonight as well. Abandon the services everyone else will be using and try something new, like Gett, an app that boasts a $10 flat-rate ride anywhere in Manhattan (yes, seriously), AND you can set up a pickup ahead of time. Or try car-hailing app Whisk, which has fares comparable to a yellow taxi.
- Share a ride. Bandwagon can help you hook up with others in your area headed the same way to split fares in taxis or black cars. Or book a ride with an SUV through Via. Get picked up by a professional driver, and share with others for $5 a ride when you prepay, or $7 when you pay per ride. BIG DISCLAIMER: Via is only available on weekdays from 6:45am-9pm, so this one is for tonight's early birds (or up-all-night birds).
- Do things the old-fashioned way and call a car service. There's plenty of black car services throughout the five boroughs (try Brooklyn-based Metroline at 718-388-1111 or Manhattan-based Allstate Limo Car Service at 212-333-3333). Yes, they'll be busy too, but at least when you call and ask for a ride they'll tell you your total fare upfront, as well as give you an estimated time of when your car will arrive. Plus, some of them will allow you to set up your ride ahead of time. Just imagine a world where you're not standing on Broadway trying to hail a cab for 45 minutes at 2 in the morning.
- If you insist on using Uber, prices are estimated to be lowest between 10:15pm and 12:15am. Or, use the new UberPOOL service. When you request your UberX, make sure you toggle on the UberPOOL option, and you can be matched with another Uber user near you who's headed to a similar locale. You can save 20-50% on your fare this way, but surge pricing still applies, and there's no guarantee that you'll be matched, so be prepared to pay that full rate anyways.
- Take the damn subway! You'll probably get to your destination faster that way anyhow! Plus, NYE is a fabulous night for people-watching as crowds of drunks dressed to the nines from all corners of the city come together in one glittery conglomeration.
One last aside for users that do go with Uber or Lyft: You can help fight drunk driving with your fare tonight. Both services will donate portions of their NYE hauls to Mothers Against Drunk Driving when you use the promo code "MADDNYE" when booking a ride with Uber, or when making a pledge to get home safe (by clicking a button) on Lyft.com/NYE.