Uber hikes Sydney prices amid hostage crisis, offers free rides after outcry
The fast-growing enterprise demonstrated what one Twitter user called being “tone deaf” in its response to the hostage situation at the Lindt Cafe in Martin Place, where a gunman is holding over 20 people.
The crisis prompted people working in Sydney’s central business district (CBD) to flee en masse, and Uber acted by raising tariffs for its services under its “price surging” policy. The prices surged indeed, with spikes up to four times the usual fares, according to a Mashable report.
The company justified the move by the need to attract additional drivers to CBD, but many uses saw it as an attempt to profiteer from the crisis.
tone deaf. rt @Uber_Sydney: We are all concerned with events in CBD. Fares have increased to encourage more drivers to come online..
— dan!sh (@danishism) December 15, 2014
— Seth Mnookin (@sethmnookin) December 15, 2014
Facing the lash-out, Uber posted an update, saying it would be covering the costs of the rides out of the CBD (but no more than one trip per person) and would refund those who had already paid.
Uber rides out of the CBD today are free for all riders to help Sydneysiders get home safely. See http://t.co/UIwoom25Bm for more info.
— Uber Sydney (@Uber_Sydney) December 15, 2014