As UberX and Lyft Get Cheaper, Should You Sell Your Car?

The new prices are an experiment in stoking demand. If the cost of a single ride drops far enough, people may begin abandoning their cars for their daily commute or midday errand.

What's the Latest?


Two industry disruptors, Uber and Lyft, are changing the way people commute in urban centers. This summer, the companies are rolling out new pricing schemes meant to outfox established taxi companies. "The price cut amounts to 20 percent in New York and 25 percent in San Francisco and Los Angeles. By the company’s math, that leaves the price of a ride lower than that of a taxi in New York, and in other cities the price is now significantly lower." In some markets, Uber is forsaking its 20 percent commission to keep prices low. But why would a company purposefully take a loss on each transaction?

What's the Big Idea?

The new prices are an experiment in stoking demand. If the cost of a single ride drops far enough, people may begin abandoning their cars for their daily commute or midday errand. The effect may be a low-margin business but one with a guaranteed demand for the foreseeable future. "The whole point of price cuts is to get UberX pricing below the cost of owning a car," said Uber’s chief executive, Travis Kalanick. "Let’s say you take three or four trips a day on average. If we can get the price of UberX low enough, we can get to where it’s cheaper to take Uber than to own a car."

Read more at the New York Times

Photo credit: Shutterstock

A dark matter hurricane is crashing into Earth

Giving our solar system a "slap in the face"

Surprising Science
  • A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
  • It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
  • Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Keep reading Show less

We are heading for a New Cretaceous, not for a new normal

The climate change we're witnessing is more dramatic than we might think.

Image credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center from Greenbelt, MD, USA
Surprising Science

A lazy buzz phrase – 'Is this the new normal?' – has been doing the rounds as extreme climate events have been piling up over the past year. To which the riposte should be: it's worse than that – we're on the road to even more frequent, more extreme events than we saw this year.

Keep reading Show less

New study reveals what time we burn the most calories

Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.

Photo: Victor Freitas / Unsplash
Surprising Science
  • Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
  • While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
  • Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
Keep reading Show less