Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Uber apologizes to Sydney for surge pricing during the Sydney Siege

Ben Greiner writes from down under:

Here is something interesting, I am not sure if you followed the story. During the Sydney Siege last week, when companies closed down their offices and sent people home, Uber's price mechanism kicked in and raised Uber cab prices to get out of the city to as much as $200. People found that very repugnant, even though Uber argued that the high prices would increase cab supply when it was needed in such difficult moments ... Anyway, Uber just sent below email to its customers about 2 days ago.

Here is also an article arguoing that in general people do not like variable pricing.

Cheers from Sydney


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: David at Uber Sydney <supportsydney@uber.com>
Date: Wed, Dec 24, 2014 at 9:34 AM
Subject: An apology
To: bgreiner.mail@gmail.com

The events of last week in Sydney were upsetting


The events of last week in Sydney were upsetting for the whole community and we are truly sorry for any concern that our process may have added. 
Our priority was to help get as many people out of the CBD safely in the midst of a fast-moving event. The decisions we made were based only on helping to achieve this but we communicated this poorly, leading to a lot of misunderstanding about our motivations.
Surge pricing is algorithmic and kicks in automatically when demand for rides outstrips the supply of cars that are on the road. This encourages more drivers to the area where people are requesting rides. As an increasing number of people were requesting rides that morning in the CBD, surge pricing came into effect automatically and this is when you might have seen higher prices.
We didn't stop surge pricing immediately. This was the wrong decision. We quickly reversed course and provided free rides to people needing to leave the CBD. In the end, no rider was charged to leave the CBD on Monday and all higher fares resulting from surge pricing earlier in the day were fully refunded.
It's unfortunate that the perception is that Uber did something against the interests of the public. We certainly did not intend to. We will learn from this incident and improve as a result of this lesson. Uber is committed to ensuring users have a reliable ride when they need it most - including and especially during disasters and relevant states of emergency. We take our community commitment very seriously in the 250+ cities Uber serves around the globe.
Please know that we have listened to the feedback and we are working to standardise a global policy to ensure we're serving communities in the most efficient, effective and helpful way possible at all times. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the victims' families, those that were injured and the Sydney community of which we are so proud to be a part.
Have a happy holidays, 
David and the team at Uber Sydney 

1 comment:

Ortan Steve said...

In the event that there are an excess of uber drivers, wouldnt the expense for a uber auto go down drastically? Yes, Uber costs are lower than taxicabs in non-surge times.