Friday 2 December 2016

Uber slammed as fares rise as much as 200pc during London Underground strike

Published 09/07/2015 | 12:45

Uber has faced controversy in France
Uber has faced controversy in France

Uber has been criticised over pricing after fares during the London Underground strikes were said to have doubled in some areas.

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Commuters took to social media this morning to report rises as high as 200% as they sought to find alternative ways to work with the Underground out of action.

Uber said its programming means that in times of high demand for cars, prices are increased to encourage more drivers on to the roads.

An Uber spokesman said: "Drivers work on the Uber platform on a completely flexible basis, as much or as little as they want. During times of peak demand - when demand massively outstrips supply - fares increase temporarily to incentivise more drivers to work on the platform. As soon as the demand drops or supply increases, the price comes back down."

The spokesman added that customers, known as "riders", are made aware of fare increases before they book.

"Dynamic pricing is fully transparent - riders are notified clearly in-app, and even have to physically type in the price ... to confirm they have understood the pricing.

"Riders also have the option to get a fare estimate at that price, or can press the 'Notify me when surge drops' button to get a message as soon as the price drops back to normal."

The car-sharing service added that it was encouraging users to split fares with friends and colleagues during the strike.

Uber has been rocked by several controversies in its short history, most recently suspending one version of its service in France after taxi drivers rioted in protest against the firm.

Because Uber drivers do not need a taxi licence and can offer lower fares, other drivers see their presence as unfair competition. New laws are being introduced in France that target unlicensed drivers.

Last summer, black cab drivers in London staged a protest against Uber and other car-sharing services, saying their ability to avoid licence fees was putting other taxi drivers' jobs at risk.

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