During the frightening hostage scene in Sydney’s CBD, Uber’s ‘Surge Pricing’ has hit people in times of need, forcing them to pay a $100 minimum to use the car service. Put simply, When demand increases, Uber will increase it’s pricing by two, three, even four times the base price dependant on the type and amount of demand.
During the distressing situation of the Sydney CBD Hostage Siege, concerned people were trying to escape the city via whichever means possible including Uber. According to a report from Mashable, Sydneysiders were forced to pay a minimum of $100 to utilise the Uber service and leave the city. A fare estimate for getting to the Airport from the City was $145 to $185.
According to Uber, this pricing is good for the consumer, as prices go up, there is more incentive for drivers to come into the city and offer their service. It’s worth mentioning, the process is automated – mainly for high-demand periods such as New Years Eve. However, in times of emergency, the system has automatically triggered the surge pricing scheme.
We are all concerned with events in CBD. Fares have increased to encourage more drivers to come online & pick up passengers in the area.
— Uber Sydney (@Uber_Sydney) December 15, 2014
Shortly after the tweet above being posted, there was a massive backlash from social media users calling Uber’s response to the Sydney event, a “heartless price gouging response”. However, Uber shortly stood down and said they will offer free rides to anyone leaving the CBD but leaving prices as is for people going into the CBD. The company will refund those who were affected by the surge pricing, however people affected are encouraged to contact Uber for the refund.
In an online statement, Uber said:
We are all concerned with the events happening in Sydney.
Uber Sydney will be providing free rides out of the CBD to help Sydneysiders get home safely.
Our thoughts are with those affected and the NSW Police Force.
We are in the process of refunding rides. If you have been charged during these hours leaving the CBD please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that surge pricing is used to encourage more drivers to come online and pick up passengers from the area.
Updates will follow on Twitter – @Uber_Sydney