Whine Wednesdays: Uber Surge Pricing Not Disclosed (Kuala Lumpur & Ho Chi Minh City)


I have written at least once (access here) how much I like using Uber and have used the service in 30 or so countries by now and have had more than 600 rides.

Whine Wednesdays Uber Surge Not Disclosed (Kuala Lumpur & Ho Chi Minh City) U

The most recent development that I have seen in Kuala Lumpur and Ho Chi Minh City, however, may end up moving some of my rides to alternate platforms or using a regular cab.

Uber has surge pricing for periods of high demand and has clearly marked those on their app. Now to obfuscate the pricing, the app just will show that there is higher than usual demand and a total price in the two cities mentioned above. The surge factor whether it is 1.2 or 4.8 is not disclosed at all and only the total price is shown.

Whine Wednesdays Uber Surge Not Disclosed (Kuala Lumpur & Ho Chi Minh City) No Surge

The “slightly higher” price is in fact 79% higher than the base one without surge. I wouldn’t call this “slightly higher”.

Whine Wednesdays Uber Surge Not Disclosed (Kuala Lumpur & Ho Chi Minh City) Disclosed

The surge is then shown on the receipt that is emailed to you or you can pull up the trip from the app once completed.


I don’t mind using Uber when the surge pricing is in the lower digits such as 1.2 – 1.4 but most definitely don’t use it when it is in the 2’s or 3s. Then taking a regular cab is basically cheaper.

I just hate now that the Uber won’t disclose the surge up front and seems to believe that people just accept their pricing (don’t trust them THAT much). They must have figured out that seeing the surge pricing makes people less likely to order rides using their platform.

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  • skyloaf

    Manila is blowing up over the issue. It’s been top local news throughout the holiday season.

  • Gaijinsan

    I’ve noticed this with the new version of the app and I don’t like it at all. It’s fine in Tokyo where I know what the normal prices would be, but when in cities I don’t know well, it’s hard to know if $30 is normal, 3x or 1.2x. No longer disclosing the surge amount isn’t very customer friendly. I expect the reason they went to this model is exactly to counter customers like us who will not use it if it’s beyond 1.2x, 1.4x, etc. They are assuming we don’t know how much the trip would normally be and hoping we find the estimate reasonable enough to click.

    • Esther

      Totally agreed either the new app or surcharge, therefore I have been changing to Grab taxi some time. Some drivers are not honest with the fee I experienced in Berlin as they have overcharged 2 or 3 Euro after I got off the car.

    • Well. I ended up taking Grab from the SGN airport because of this Uber issue.

  • Same case in Singapore as well – I think it started 3-6 months back. With that being said, there are apps (e.g. CityMapper, Surge) that can help you figure out the surge factor though!

    • Perfect. Thanks! Just crazy that you need another app to find out what the Uber’s surge pricing is.

  • Savage25

    You can still see the surge pricing upfront if you look it up in the Google Maps app. Enter the addresses and under the ride hailing options you can see Uber and Grab prices – the Uber prices shows the surge as 1.7x, etc.

    • alwweb

      Is this in the Android version? If so, how do you get to it? Thanks!

      • At least on Android the Google maps does give an estimated price using various ride sharing services when you choose the start and the end of the trip.

    • Thanks! Will check this out the next time.

    • Gaijinsan

      It shouldn’t take so much effort though. There’s no consumer friendly reason for Uber to be masking the surge ratio now.

  • Roger Wilco

    Whereas I understand the sentiment, let’s put this into context

    normal price as quoted – 3€
    surge price as quoted – 5,5€

    making an issue of 2,5€ (that’s £2 for you Brits) – priceless

    • It is not just the tourists and expats using these services but mostly locals. The price does make a difference.