Prepare for longer than normal wait times and higher than normal fares if you’re planning to use a ridesharing service to get around on New Year’s Eve.
The night is a busy time for Lyft and Uber drivers as people opt to use them to avoid parking at party hot spots and driving after drinking.
“We encourage Lyft riders to ride smart and plan ahead for a responsible ride home when ringing in 2019 with friends and family,”said Josh Huber, the Pittsburgh Market Manager for Lyft.
Nearly half of traffic fatalities on New Year’s Eve are alcohol related, according to the American Safety Council.
Huber said Lyft is doing everything they can to ensure there are enough drivers on the roads for New Year’s Eve.
If the demand exceeds the amount of drivers, then Lyft will go into what it calls “dynamic pricing” for drivers and “prime time” for riders. It increases prices and is supposed to incentivize drivers to log on and take a few rides to decrease demand and get party-goers where they need to go.
Riders are alerted to prime time pricing and required to confirm they accept the higher fares before requesting a ride, Huber said.
Harry Hartfield, a spokesman for Uber, said there are a few ways to make the night go smoothly.
• Schedule your ride : Uber’s Scheduled Rides feature allows you can request your ride 30 days to just 30 minutes before you need it .
• Use UberPOOL : UberPOOL makes it easy for people headed in the same direction at the same time to share the cost. Hartfield said it’s up to 55 percent cheaper.
• Fare Splitting : If you’re sharing your Uber ride with a friend, you can split the fare through the app. Once you’ve requested a ride, tap the arrow icon next to your driver’s info, select “split fare,” choose your friends, and tap “send.”
• Buy a ride for someone: If you’re hosting this year, you can treat your guests to more than just festive food and drinks by footing the bill when they’re traveling. You can invite family or friends to join your “family profile” so you can easily pay for their ride and make sure they get there safely.
According to a chart from 2016 on Uber’s website, ride requests are expected to pick up around 5 p.m. as people head out for the night and slightly peak around 9 p.m. The biggest peak is typically right after the ball drops at midnight.
Uber’s 2016 data shows before midnight, requests are expected to be highest in the Downtown, Strip, South Side, and Shadyside neighborhoods, beginning around 5 p.m.
After midnight, requests have typically been expected to peak in the North Shore, Downtown, Strip and South Side neighborhoods.
Port Authority buses will also be available and offering specials for kids. Children ages 6 to 12 can ride for free from 4 p.m. to end of service on New Year’s Eve if they are with an adult wearing a First Night button. Children under 5 always ride free when accompanied by a fare-paying adult.
Riders should allow for additional travel time due to detours on New Year’s Eve and are should to check schedules because not all bus routes operate until midnight.
Emily Balser is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Emily at 724-226-4680, [email protected] or via Twitter @emilybalser.