Sathiyasiva said surge pricing was introduced to encourage drivers and boost capacity.
“We introduced surge to match demand to supply and in order to achieve that we have to make sure that we match excess demand with the supply,” he said.
Sathiyasiva said surge pricing is still at a test phase and PickMe has not decided whether to continue the feature in the future. Customer feedback will be critical on the decision, he said.
Passengers told EconomyNext that they use PickMe because it is comparatively cheaper to Uber when the latter is on surge as demand outstrips supply.
Surge pricing incentivizes drivers, Sathiyasiva said.
“Apart from the salary we offer and the incentives, we give life insurance to our drivers and their family free of charge; it (surge) is in a way to help them earn more income.”
“This is not entirely about surge pricing but more of an incentive for our drivers to work too,” Sathiyasiva said.
During peak hours, PickMe drivers turn off their meter and charge higher prices from those travelling to the outer suburbs of Colombo, commuters say.
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