Heed Uber’s warning, minimize complaints

Daniel Horowitz, Staff Writer

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This is an opinion article and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

It is Carnival season once again, which means Tulane University students will take to St. Charles Avenue for the exciting festivities that come with Mardi Gras. Many students will be prepared for a long walk out to the parade route to find the perfect spot. With all of the excitement, getting back to campus after the parades comes with some challenges. If walking is not a possibility for getting back to campus, Uber is a popular alternative. It is, however, important to know all of the changes that Uber is making for Mardi Gras weekend. Willfully ignoring these changes and complaining about them afterward is irritating to others and an easy way to lose quite a bit of money. Informing yourself, as with all things, is essential to effective transportation during Mardi Gras festivities.

Most people know the drill with Uber: a ride is requested, a driver promptly comes to pick you up and you go on to your destination. Mardi Gras makes this normally easy process somewhat more difficult for several reasons. One is that Uber is limiting the area to which drivers can pick people up due to road closures. The pick-up area, or “The Box” as Uber is calling it, extends a few blocks below St. Charles from Napoleon Avenue to Canal Street. If students plan on using Uber during Mardi Gras weekend, it is crucial that they learn the protocol for The Box, or they might end up stranded on the parade route.

Another aspect of Uber’s Mardi Gras procedure involves price surges. Uber often raises travel rates when they know there will be a high demand for drivers. These price surges are an attempt to take advantage of high demand in order to make higher profits, as well as incentivize drivers to work during holidays. To typical Uber riders, they might seem like a complete hindrance in their attempt to get home. It is important that riders be ready for these jumping rates and possibly be prepared to split their fares in order to avoid paying more than the average rate.

Restricting the boundaries for Mardi Gras attendees and raising prices might seem difficult, and because of these decisions there is a chance people will try bearing the trek back to Tulane by foot from the parade route. But knowing the typical parade-goer, Uber will definitely still see some use. Mardi Gras is an unpredictable time of the year. People will likely be put in situations that incentivize seeking a ride. Whether someone has had one drink too many and cannot make the walk back to campus, or whether an injury prevents someone from walking back, an emergency can make Uber a necessity.

What makes these new rules acceptable is that Uber is warning us about them in advance. They could have chosen to shut down for the weekend, leaving customers fighting for cabs all over New Orleans. If one finds oneself needing a ride, spending some extra money and walking a few blocks away from the route may prove to be a live-saver. As long as they do not go bad-mouthing Uber afterwards, transportation might just end up being one of the smoother parts of the holiday.

Daniel is a sophomore at Newcomb-Tulane College. He can be reached at [email protected].