Both Lyft and Uber‘s surge pricing strategy kicks in whenever demand for rides outpaces supply. This system can make fares get a little bit pricier during rush hour but tends to make them skyrocket during large festivals and holidays.
In fact, surge pricing can result in up to double the fare you would otherwise pay during normal hours. That’s what makes so-called discounts on St. Patrick’s Day ridesharing turn out to not feel like a discount at all.
That said, Lyft customers in the greater Phoenix area get 20% off of two rides during this weekend, thanks to a partnership with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office that aims to minimize drunk driving incidents.
New customers in the area can download the app and receive $5 off their first four rides by using the promotion code BELUCKY. Lyft’s usual offer for new riders gives $5 off two rides with the use of the code NEWUSER10.
Meanwhile, $5 Uber discounts in the greater Memphis area are being financed by Hamilton Law Firm which is limiting availability to between 10:00 pm and midnight on March 17, not the entire weekend like the Phoenix discount.
Also distinct from the Phoenix discount: The law firm asks people to fill out a form on its website in order to receive the discount code.
Whether you live in one of the markets that has a discount available or not, there’s another way to save on the fare: choose the carpool versions of ridesharing — Lyft Line and UberPool.
Take a Taxi Instead
But even the pooled rides get more expensive as a result of surge pricing, so you might want to try taking a cab instead. Taxis usually don’t ratchet up their fare meters on holidays.
Although it might be challenging to find available cabs on the holiday known for heavy drinking — especially when it falls on a weekend like this year — once you get into a taxi, it can seem like a relief compared to the alternative.
Here’s one reason why a cab will be nicer than doing Lyft Line or UberPool: You probably won’t know your fellow passengers in a carpool situation, and on a night like St. Patrick’s, one of these strangers just might barf on you in the vehicle. In fact, a veteran driver for ridesharing services advises his colleagues to stock up on vomit bags before signing on that evening.
Other Surge Pricing Situations
Know that the surge pricing on holidays like St. Patrick’s Day last longer than during times like rush hour. When it’s not a holiday or major festival, a period of surge pricing can last an average of five minutes, according to research put out by Northeastern University.
In those situations, you can save money simply by waiting for the surge pricing period to end, although that option won’t work if you’re in a rush. It also won’t pan out on a holiday like St. Patrick’s Day, but you could always try it and see if anything changes.
Readers, what do you have planned for St. Patrick’s Day? What has your experience been with surge pricing on ridesharing service?
Read more about St. Patrick’s Day in our archives:
- Save Money on St. Patrick’s Day with These Tips
- St. Patrick’s Day Freebies
- St. Patrick’s Day Deals
- St. Patrick’s Day and Money