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Avoid ride-share surge pricing this holiday

Savings expert gives tips on how to get the cheapest ride

The busy holiday week is upon us. That means parties over the next few days and possibly some drinking.

You want to be responsible and avoid driving, but you don't want to pay an arm and a leg.

"The first step is to game the system a little bit," said Justin Cupler, a savings expert with ThePennyHoarder.com.

He's used to finding ways to get the most bang for his buck. First-- download all the ride-sharing apps you can find to compare.

"Download all the apps, download Uber, download Lyft, download via, get all those apps on your phone," said Cupler. "Check them all before the party starts to see which will have surge pricing at the time you'll need a ride."

Next-- find a promo code.

"So all of these apps, be it Uber, Lyft or whatever, they'll have promo codes and what you do is, you find a promo code that's going to at least drop the price if the ride-share is surge pricing," said Cupler. "But the big thing is, make sure you put that promo code into the app before you break open up the champagne, because once you bust open that bottle you're probably going to forget."

Sometimes they black promo codes out for the holidays, so the third tip is to outsmart the app

"Surge pricing only happens at certain times and in certain areas," he said.

By shifting your plans just a bit, you may get a better rate, especially on New Year's Eve.

"Maybe right after the ball drops, which is one of the cheaper times during New Year's, right after the ball drops and schedule that Uber ride then, you could save big there or plan it at 3 a.m. That's when surge pricing also goes away. "

You can also try changing where you're getting picked up by a couple of blocks, too. You can use another app called Surge Protector to help you figure out the cheapest place to get picked up.

"Sometimes you can be just a few blocks away from being out of a surge zone, so check the map," said Cupler. "Make the walk and have them pick up there, but make sure you walk with a group of people or in a well-lit area because you never know what kind of craziness happens."

And finally, sometimes the local taxi services are going to be the better way to go.

"Some of them do have apps. If they have an app, download it and schedule to have them pick you up," said Cupler. "One big thing to remember, though, is sometimes there is a surcharge when you use the taxi app but paying that surcharge may be better than standing on the curb trying to flag down a cab at 1 o'clock in the morning."


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