Strikes in Paris: private transfer prices explode

Without public transportation, many of us opt for alternative means. Beware of the final price. Book a private driver in Paris in advance for your transfer.

Rare public transport is paralyzed, saturated roads and angry people: the ingredients of the RATP and SNCF (the public transportation companies) strikes in December draw a chaotic scenario.

Alternative means of travel have been taken by assault. The prices of private drivers, and to a lesser extent taxi, have exploded.

“I’m going to be very early on the road because there is going to be a lot of money to be made even if Uber often blocks the surcharge,” believes Kamel, one private driver.

“The pricing of private transfers are based on the difference between distance and time from point A to point B and also adapts directly to supply and demand which explodes during public transport strikes”, points out Théodore Monziès, the founder EureCab, a private transport and taxi booking platform.

“As people take their cars more often, there is more traffic, the trips take longer therefore the factor of transport time in the horokilometric tariff also plays a full role in the price explosion”, he analyzes.

The Parisian start-up, for example, recorded three times more reservation requests during the RATP strike on September 13, and prices had doubled.

General mobilization of drivers?

Solicited, the private transportation booking platforms all claim to have anticipated this time a strong increase in demand by encouraging drivers in advance to take the road.

Their main tool has double effect: dynamic pricing or an automated increase in transfer prices, which, they claim, is intended to motivate drivers to connect and accept transfers, but also provokes brutal price surges like last September.

In order to limit the waiting time, fiery prices and above all the discontent of customers, Uber relies heavily on the mobilization in Paris of its 30,000 partner drivers.

“We are also going to set up financial bonuses on the most complicated hours from 7 to 9 am and from 4 to 8 pm because the working conditions will be degraded”, assures the company which dominates the French market.

Its Franco-German competitor, Kapten, also applies dynamic pricing “with an increase limited to 3 times the base price” while advising customers to book their cars in advance to avoid sudden increases.

Taxis in Paris much more in demand

“They can book with a fixed price up to 30 minutes before their transfer. We have increased our capacity to process up to 15,000 orders in advance on a strike day”, says Antoine Lieutaud, Kapten’s Managing Director.

It provides a tripling of the activity of drivers for the first day of a strike movement which could set in.

Uber already justifies the probable increases. “Reducing prices would alter the reliability of the service,” says Roch de Longeaux, director of operations for Uber France.

And to clarify: “we only suspend dynamic pricing during exceptional events with danger for our users such as bad weather or an attack”.

Faced with this inflation of invoices, it is taxis which are the big winners of the day with their regulated prices which remain more or less stable.

“They are little more expensive because with the traffic jams the duration of the transfers are longer but the impact are less strong than for private drivers in Paris because they have access to the bus lines on the roads”, explains Théodore Monziès of Eurecab.

On the condition of finding one available during the “rush hours” because G7 subscribers, especially businesses, are likely to be given priority.