Drivers for Uber and Lyft admit to manipulating the ride sharing apps so that customers will have to pay for a price surge.
A group of up to 150 drivers routinely use the trick while waiting in the parking lot for passengers at Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia.
The drivers artificially inflate the fare by simultaneously turning off their apps for a couple of minutes.
This tricks the app into thinking that there are no drivers available, which leads to a ‘price surge.’
Surge pricing is a method used by businesses whereby an algorithm determines the cost of a product based on market demand at that particular moment.
Drivers for Uber and Lyft are seen above at a parking lot near Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia
The drivers described how they were able to artificially inflate the fares by turning off apps at the same time in order to trigger surge pricing
Drivers say they know when planes arrive at Reagan Airport, so they time the surge pricing with the exit of passengers from the terminals. The above stock image shows a plane taking off from Reagan in September 2017
When the surge goes into effect, the drivers then reactivate the apps in order to lock down a higher fare, according to WJLA-TV.
‘All the airplanes we know when they land,’ said one of the drivers.
‘So five minutes before, we turn all our apps off all of us at the same time.
‘All of us we turn our apps off.
‘They surge, $10, $12, sometimes $19. Then we turn our app on
‘Everyone will get the surge.’
The same driver describes how they coordinate with one another to fool the apps.
‘Someone is standing by that corner,’ the driver says.
‘I stand by this corner and the other one stands at this corner and we say turn the app off and then go online.’
Just moments after the apps are turned off, drivers can monitor the extent to which the prices surge.
‘It’s still going up. It’s still going up,’ one of the drivers says.
‘It’s 13 still going up, it’s still going up. It’s 13. Don’t go on yet! You up?? Refresh it!’
In less than two minutes, the fare increases by $13.
‘All of us we turn our apps off,'a driver told WJLA-TV. ‘They surge, $10, $12, sometimes $19. Then we turn our app on. Everyone will get the surge’