hailo

Tim Bradshaw

Taxi and ride-sharing apps such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar are gearing up for one of the busiest nights of the year on Monday, hoping to raise prices, boost drivers’ income – and head off criticism from passengers and lawmakers for doing so.

Uber was given a rough ride by some customers after last New Year’s Eve, when they awoke not only with sore heads but lighter (digital) wallets due to the limo- and taxi-hire service’s “surge pricing”.

At times of peak demand, Uber pushes through price rises of up to four times as much as its regular fares, which are automatically charged to a credit card at the end of the journey.

Although it flagged the increases last year, some passengers – perhaps after a few drinks – failed to notice the warnings and ended up paying over $100 for short rides.