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Uber, Lyft, Flywheel prepare for busy New Year's Eve

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From Uber and Lyft to good old taxicabs, there are a lot of ways to get around this New Year's Eve. But some could cost you a whole lot more than normal.

From Uber and Lyft to good old taxicabs, there are a lot of ways to get around this New Year's Eve. But some could cost you a whole lot more than normal.

Pop go the fireworks, and pop goes the champagne. But when it's time to go home, you might not be celebrating.

In years past, taxis were the only game in town. And they cleaned up.

When asked if New Year's Eve is a good moneymaker, one driver said, "It's the best night of the year."

But then came the apps -- Uber and Lyft.

And unlike taxis, they can raise prices when demand is high.

"Uber was skyrocketed about 10 times the cost it should've been," said one Uber user.

Uber calls it surge pricing. Lyft calls it prime time.

"Prime time exists basically as an incentive to get people out on the road," said Lyft driver Mika Sanfilippo. "I mean, when people know there's gonna be a higher percentage of prime time, they'll be like, all right I might as well drive these few hours."

Sanfilippo said she needs that incentive to put up with the New Year's craziness. Along with some beaded bracelets she gives out to passengers, she's brought something else.

"This is a hospital quality vomit bag," she said. "I have a few just in case."

And you may need one after hearing this -- for the first time ever Lyft is raising the cap on prime time rates up to a possible four times the normal fare.

As for Uber, the company will have no cap on surge pricing. They released video showing how riders will have to confirm twice that they've seen the high rates and agree to them. They expect the highest demand between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m.

But there's a wildcard in this game. Flywheel, the app specifically for hailing taxicabs, just announced it may be the cheapest ride in town. No matter where you travel to or from in San Francisco on New Year's Eve, it'll cost you exactly $10. The company is calling it #SurgeFreeNYE.

"This is our way of saying thank you to both our consumers as well as our drivers," said Oneal Bhambani.

Flywheel just raised $12 million in venture capital, and some of it is going to their New Year's Eve promotion. While the rider pays $10, the company will pay cabbies double the fare on the meter. It's an incentive to give rides through the app instead of finding fares on the street.

One Lyft driver told us he'd do it.

"If they're the best deal, I mean I totally understand," he said. "People should take the best deal possible, that's what I do."

For ideas on what to do for New Year's Eve, click here.

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trafficbusinessnew year's evenew year's eve eventuberlyfttaxitaxi driverstaxi riderscab driversdrivingtransportationsocietytechnologyappappsmobile appSan FranciscoOaklandSan JoseSan MateoMarin
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