In the midst of discussion around Uber's questionable business practices and data privacy concerns, an app called SurgeProtector aims to empower Uber users by letting them know if an area is experiencing surge pricing before ordering a ride. The SurgeProtector app, constructed by Nikhil Bhargava and Thomas Schmidt, was made possible with the recent launch of Uber's open API.
Nikhil Bhargava, the co-developer of SurgeProtector, explains that “Uber had somewhat recently opened up their API for third-party developer access, and we thought that this would be a valuable tool for people who would be willing to walk a little to avoid surge pricing.”
SurgeProtector geolocates a user, and consumes data from the Uber API to make an near-accurate determination of whether a surge exists in the area or not. There is also a slider on the interface for filtering estimated pricing based on Uber card model variety.
According to Bhargava, Uber does not view SurgeProtector as a detractor for business. They have been greeted with supportive customer service, and have even been given increased API limits to allow further daily requests.
Unfortunately, future expansion of the app to support surge detection for other rideshare services is impossible, due to a stipulation within the Uber developer API terms of services that bars developers form working with competing services.