If Your Phone Battery Is Always Low When You Use Uber, You Should Read This...

The taxi app service knows when you're more likely to accept higher fares.

low battery stock image

We've all experienced the relief of requesting an Uber just before our phone battery runs out, but this might make you think twice about using the taxi service when your running on your last 2%.

Uber's head of economic research, Keith Chen, appeared on NPR's The Hidden Brain podcast, where he spoke about "surge pricing" and revealed the company knows when your phone is almost out of battery.

Chen confirmed that the app can detect when your phone is in power saving mode, and says people are much more likely to pay for surges if they're on their last 5%.

However, the boffin also assured us that Uber "absolutely don't use that" information to set their surge prices. 

Chen adds that other factors affecting our likelihood of accepting surges in prices include the "round number affect".

He explains: "When you go from 1.9(x) to 2.0, you see six times larger of a drop in demand than you saw when going from 1.8 to 1.9.

"So the amount more your paying for the trip is the same, but 2.0 just feels viscerally larger to people." 

But here's where it gets weird. 

According to Chen, people are more likely to take rides at a 2.1 surge than 2.0, because we trust that a more fair and accurate "algorithm" is at work when the numbers aren't whole.

So what's the answer? 

Be prepared, know your maths, keep calm and charge your phone. 

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