Ride-sharing company Uber took advantage of the London terrorist attack to make a hefty profit off of people evacuating affected areas.
One of the company’s most controversial features is “surge pricing,” in which the typical fare for a ride is doubled, or driven even higher, during times when the app is in high demand. During the Saturday night attacks, Uber apparently raised prices on passengers by more than double, prompting one Twitter user fleeing the affected area to blast the company publicly. However, London’s black cab service was apparently evacuating people for free during the attacks.
— Amber Clemente (@yankeeamber) June 3, 2017
Uber users of UK. This disgusting illegal mob were surge charging in Manchester and London. Whist the Black Taxi drove for FREE. Uber R Vile
— Blue Lion2007 (@Bluelion2007) June 4, 2017
Taxi drivers taking people away from London Bridge for free, while Uber is surge charging ?
— Laura (@lauradronfield) June 3, 2017
— Katie Hopkins (@KTHopkins) June 4, 2017
— Flower Girl London (@flowergirl_lon) June 4, 2017
To their credit, Uber’s United Kingdom support account responded relatively quickly, telling Twitter user Amber Clemente that it suspended surge pricing immediately following the news of the attacks.
Tom Elvidge, who is Uber’s general manager for London, told CNN that the company was responsive to complaints about surge pricing during the attacks.
“As soon as we heard about the incident we immediately suspended dynamic pricing all around the area of the attacks — and shortly afterward across the whole of central London — just as we did following the attacks in Manchester and Westminster,” Elvidge said, referencing the recent attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.
As soon as we became aware of the attacks, dynamic pricing was immediately suspended in central London, just as we did… 1/2
— Uber UK Support (@UberUKsupport) June 4, 2017
However, another Twitter user aptly noted that the time in between the attacks and the notice sent out by Uber’s UK office was roughly two hours, according to the user’s screenshot of the notice being sent out, meaning those in the London Bridge, Borough Market, and Vauxhall areas where attacks were reported were gouged via surge pricing during the most dangerous time of the night.
— kev (@gblondon1) June 4, 2017