The fountains at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas where the SALT conference, the annual hedge fund industry confab is being held.
Photograph by George Rose—Getty Images
By Dan Primack
January 5, 2016

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show is the first in which ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft are able to legally operate in Las Vegas, which will hopefully shorten the event’s legendary taxi queues. But what many on-demand riders may not realize is that both companies are offering their services for much less than they were upon entering Nevada last September.

Uber quietly cut all of its Nevada prices by 30% on Dec. 8, according to a little-noticed blog post whose URL seemed to indicate that it was special holiday pricing. But several Uber drivers in Las Vegas say that the cut is indefinite, and that they were told it was done in order to boost demand (even though the on-demand services were already cheaper, in general, than local taxis).

Lyft eventually followed suit, with spokeswoman Sheila Bryson saying that the company often adjusts pricing after launching in a new market. She also cited demand, adding that Lyft would not raise its 200% cap on PT -― or what Uber calls ‘surge pricing’ ― during CES.

“It means I make less money,” said one Uber driver who had just dropped off a customer a few lanes away from a hotel entrance (taxis and traditional livery cars still get preferential location at most properties, with on-demand drivers forced into less desirable locations). “And so does Uber. I haven’t had any demand problems so long as I stick to the Strip at night, so maybe this is more for drivers operating in other areas or at different times when there are no taxi lines.”

Uber did not respond to requests for comment.

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