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- Uber and Lyft drivers are colluding to crank up fares for passengers, ABC’s ABC7 reports.
- They are able to trigger the "surge" pricing by simultaneously turning their apps off and on.
- Drivers told ABC7 that they feel like they’ve been forced into inflating prices because the company is not paying them enough.
- Uber said in a statement it has "taken steps to address this fraudulent behavior."
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Uber and Lyft drivers have worked out how to game their companies’ "surge" pricing system to run up fares for passengers.
ABC7 reports that drivers have been sharing on YouTube how they collaborate to drive up surge prices. Surge prices kick in when there is a high demand for lifts, such as near an airport or after a major event like a concert or sports game.
In one video, an Uber driver named Dustin — who has more than 20,000 subscribers on his
Dustin Is Driving channel — talks about the practice.
"People have been doing this for a long, long time," he said. "We all know, rule number one, we don’t talk about ‘Surge Club,’" he added, following ABC7’s initial reporting of the phenomenon at Reagan National Airport last month.
The drivers are able to trigger the surge pricing by turning their apps off and on again simultaneously. Unnamed rideshare drivers showed ABC7 how they can double a ride from $10 to $20 by using this technique. A number of them told ABC7 that they’d rather not artificially inflate fares, but felt forced to after years of pay cuts.
Uber was not immediately available when contacted by Business Insider, but said in a statement to ABC7: "We have taken steps to address fraudulent behavior… engaging in this behavior may result in removal." It added that it can be difficult to detect manipulation of the app in places like airports, where surge pricing is common.
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