A doctor trying to get to work was left fuming after Uber tried to charge almost £150 for a 10 mile trip ‘because of the snow’.
As you’ll probably have seen, parts of the UK were completely covered in snow over the weekend, causing delays to flights, trains and travel on the roads.
But customers of taxi app Uber are not happy after it hiked up its prices, including that of Dr Daman Mullhi who Uber tried to charge up to £149 for a trip from Harborne to Solihull Hospital.
Uber surcharging today was outrageous and unethical, when people are just trying to get to work. They quoted £149 for a trip that a local firm then charged £30. Thanks @birminghammail and @marcreeves for highlighting. @Uber I am interested in your response… https://t.co/JY9x1w47iX
— Dr Daman K Mullhi (@dmullhi) December 11, 2017
Dr Mullhi, who couldn’t get her vehicle off her drive because of the snow resorted to calling for an Uber so she could get to work.
Shocked by the cost, she eventually used a local minicab firm which charged £30 for the same journey.
She told UNILAD:
I needed to get into work as I am an anaesthetist and patients were booked for their operations. I couldn’t get my car off the drive and it would have taken a long time on public transport, and operations might have ended up being cancelled, so I checked Uber.
I understand that cab companies may need to add charges in adverse conditions, but these fares seem extremely high. Uber charged according to an algorithm but perhaps that algorithm needs a review!
An Uber spokesperson told Birmingham Mail:
Our app uses dynamic pricing which means that fares automatically increase when the demand for cars in a specific area is greater than the cars available. Bad weather meant that were many people looking to book a car but fewer cars on the road which caused prices to automatically rise.
The higher fare encourages more drivers to come into the area so there are more cars for people who want one. Users always see a fare estimate in advance so they have the choice to book a car, share the trip with others or wait until fares decrease.
The Met Office got this one right. Roads are a nightmare, Flights at Birmingham Airport are currently suspended, public transport services are delayed/cancelled and ALL the schools are closed. This is the scene on Colmore Snow in the city centre. (Image: @ross_jukes) pic.twitter.com/jgnsDguBJk
— Birmingham Updates (@BhamUpdates) December 10, 2017
This isn’t the first time Uber has been criticised for a price surge – in June, the company raised the cost of fares in the aftermath of the London Bridge/Borough Market terror attack in London.
App users headed to social media to complain about the inflated prices, suggesting the taxi company should have actually ‘reduced prices’ immediately as people tried to make their way home safely after the attack, which left eight people dead and 48 more injured.
Uber customers said the company was charging ‘multiple times’ its standard fares immediately after the attacks, writes The Independent.
Uber put up their fares in what they call ‘price surging’.
The website states:
There are times when so many people are requesting rides that there aren’t enough cars on the road to help take them all. Bad weather, rush hour, and special events, for instance, may cause unusually large numbers of people to want to ride Uber all at the same time.
Whenever we raise rates due to surge pricing, we let riders know in the app. Some riders will choose to pay, while some will choose to wait a few minutes to see if the rates go back down to normal.
As if the weather’s not bad enough as it is.