Uber expects to give 2 million New Year's Eve rides, charge prime rates

Uber expects to provide 2 million rides worldwide on New Year's Eve

The ride-sharing, taxi-alternative service Uber says it expects its drivers will give more than 2 million rides globally this New Year's Eve -- making the night Uber's biggest ever.

The company also advises that those drivers will be charging prime-time prices of as much as seven times regular fares.

Uber is reviving a practice of allowing its drivers to charge extra during the peak hours. The policy known as "surge pricing" will be in effect from 12:30 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. Thursday.

The company said on its website that the highest fares could top $100.

Riders won't be surprised, though. The Uber app will notify them if surge pricing is in effect, and give them an idea of what the price will be. Smart riders, Uber said, will book their rides for before 12:30 a.m. or after 3:00 a.m.

Competing service Lyft will be using a special pricing structure, too. The pink-mustached company's "PrimeTime" pricing will go into effect at some point, and result in higher fees for riders.

Lyft declined to put a number on its expected New Year's Eve business, but a company representative said the night would be the company's biggest to date.

Uber has already had a big year. The service expanded its operations to 266 cities, up from only 66 a year ago, in 53 countries. Uber drew in new funding that grew its total valuation to a staggering $40 billion.

A company representative said Uber had already given 140 million rides in 2014, before New Year's Eve kicked in.

It also suffered its share of knocks. Multiple municipalities have questioned the company's tactics and legalities, leading to cessations of Uber's service in cities in Oregon, Nevada and elsewhere. The company has also been outlawed in the Netherlands and Thailand. On Dec. 31, Uber ceased operations in Spain after facing legal roadblocks and pushback from local taxi companies.

Uber said that for every U.S. transaction it handles on New Year's Eve it will donate $1 to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Twitter: @misterfleming

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