NY Post (!) Schooled on Surge Pricing

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

John Stossel rightly calls out a New York media outlet for spewing ignorant attacks of Uber and Lyft for automatic price increases -- which they disabled under pressure -- in the aftermath of the recent subway shooting.

Surge pricing would have paid him more and attracted other drivers. (Image by Paul Hanaoka, via Unsplash, license.)
That day, unusually high "surge" prices were in effect because there had been a horrible shooting on the subway. Commuters, fearful of another subway shooting, turned to ride-share services.

How should a company like Uber deal with that? Suddenly, there is much more demand for rides than supply. Should customers just wait in line? Most wouldn't get a ride for days.

So, ride-share companies do the sensible thing: They temporarily raise prices. They lower them again when there are free cars. This is the best solution for the most people.

Those who desperately need rides can pay extra for them. Those with spare time can take a bus, walk, call a friend, etc., or just wait for prices to drop.

Higher prices also mean higher pay for drivers, which encourages part-time drivers to drop what they are doing and start offering rides.
Stossel, sad to say, was explaining this not to the Times, as one would expect, but to the Post.

It is interesting to note that, although a full defense of a company's right to charge what it wants would include moral arguments, Stossel's explanation is so clear as to make the complaints by the Post look ridiculous, anyway.

Stossel notes, "'Critics say' is a clue that you are reading the product of lazy reporting." Yes, but where does the lazy reporting come from? I'd say that it's a symptom -- of what I call the mental kill-switch of altruism at work. It is frequently the case that when people feel sympathy for the unfortunate, they fall back to their moral premises, which, for an altruist, override everything else they know. They think of the frightened subway passengers and want them to have rides -- and blank out exactly how that is supposed to happen or at whose expense.

My post at the link discussed it happening to a politician. Here, I'd say it happened to a reporter.

-- CAV

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