Subscribe

Uber, learning from Sandy, caps surge pricing during blizzard (+video)

Uber has capped how much prices can rise in US cities during disasters or emergencies, after facing criticism for jacking up prices at times of high demand. In New York City, Uber surge pricing will be capped at 2.8 times — nearly triple — the normal fare.

  • close
    For Uber, bad press often follows bad weather. In New York, many still remember how the company launched surge pricing during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, forcing hurricane-stricken consumers to dig deep in their wallets during a disaster.
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption
of

 Want a ride home from car service Uber during the major snowstorm descending on the Northeast on Monday? Expect to pay more than the usual fare.

Not too much more, though. After taking heat for raising prices during past storms, Uber has capped how much prices can rise in U.S. cities during disasters or emergencies.

In New York City, surge pricing will be capped at 2.8 times — nearly triple — the normal fare. The San Francisco company is also planning to donate some of the proceeds to the American Red Cross. That's part of its nationwide policy during disasters and emergencies after criticsm when prices surged during Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

At smaller rival Lyft, prices never go higher than three times the regular rate.

The app-based ride-hailing service that has attracted criticism for jacking up prices at times of high demand, has told New York City customers that it will charge no more than 2.8 times the usual fare for trips during the snowstorm that began hitting the city on Monday.

The company is hoping to head off charges of price gouging after it raised fares by much higher multiples during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, which resulted in a flood of criticism that it was taking advantage of stricken customers.

"Due to the State of Emergency declared in New York City, prices will not exceed 2.8x the normal fare," Uber said in an email to users of its app on Monday.

The U.S. Northeast on Monday braced for a massive, crippling blizzard that could dump as much as three feet of snow as tens of millions of people were urged to stay home and airlines canceled thousands of flights.

Uber said all proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross to support relief efforts from the storm.

The company said the fee policy is in line with an agreement it signed with the State of New York's attorney general in July last year that was designed to prevent massive price surges.

It was not immediately clear whether New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio intends to protest Uber's policy.

"That's the law, that you cannot price gouge in the context of an emergency," said De Blasio at a briefing with reporters about the snowstorm earlier on Monday.

"I think it would be immoral to charge people extra because there's a natural disaster going on," he said when asked whether Uber and other car services should suspend the practice of raising prices at times of high demand.

Uber warned that some cars may be late arriving and may not be able to take passengers to their destinations if blocked by uncleared snow. (Reporting by Bill Rigby in Seattle and Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Alan Crosby)

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK