Uber’s surge pricing mechanism has long been the target of many very public complaints, including an infamous “F” rating from the Better Business Bureau. Despite this, economists recognize surge pricing as elegant solution to an obvious problem. Usually Uber operates in near perfect economic equilibrium with drivers supplying rides as users request them. Ride requests are accepted in seconds, and in most cases users don’t have to wait more than five minutes before their driver has arrived. When ride demand increases, however, Uber is left with a driver shortage that leads to a higher equilibrium price. The goal for Uber is to balance available drivers (supply) with riders (demand). Surge pricing is the most obvious and effective means of doing this, but could Uber be doing even more? Regardless of how elegant and obvious surge pricing is as a solution, it leaves a bad taste in users’ mouths and armchair economists have even begun accusing Uber of price gouging. Can design thinking solve Uber’s surge-pricing problem without increasing driver supply?
I took the most widely used questionnaire to measure locus of control, a 23-item survey developed by behavioral psychologist Julian B Rotter which determines a measurement along a “forced-choice scale.”
External attribution, also called situational attribution, refers to interpreting someone's behavior as being caused by the situation that the individual is in. For example, if Jacob's car tire is punctured he may attribute that to a hole in the road; by making attributions to the poor condition of the highway, he can make sense of the event without any discomfort that it may in reality have been the result of his bad driving.
In 2016, Uber released their own solution to help move a users attribution of surge pricing away from the brand.