Uber Price Gouges During Snow Storm

Every storm these days gets a catchy nickname on social media. The one that surprisingly walloped the tri-state area on Thursday was pegged “Snovember”. While the name is cute & catchy, the chaos that it caused the evening commute was anything but that.

While many meterologists were wrong about the forecast (shout out to Byron Miranda of Pix11 who was not), the end result ended up being many agencies throughout the tri-state area who were inadequately prepared. However this post will not focus on that but instead the classless actions of Uber.

One of the biggest commuter nightmares Thursday evening centered around Port Authority Bus Terminal where thousands upon thousands were stranded by not enough buses or drivers being around. Riders were urged to seek alternative methods & many considered an Uber ride home.

The thoughts of taking a warm & comfortable ride home were dashed for many though when the agency engaged in pure price gouging. Many riders were saying rides from Manhattan to nearby locations in New Jersey were running near or over $200.

I heard from numerous people through text & direct messages on Twitter about their horror stories of prices being 3x – 10x more than usual during the chaotic commute home on Thursday. One person shared how what is normally a  7 minute drive at most & runs about $6-10, they were offering prices of over $70.

I called out the agency on Twitter (@TransitBlogger) with this tweet:

Absolutely disgusting that you are price gouging people trying to get home in this storm. Charging $200 to get out of Manhattan to go to NJ is inexcusable!

They responded with a 100% spin aka PR response:

Here to explain! Dynamic pricing takes effect when a lot of people in the same area are requesting rides at the same time. This means that rides will be more expensive. Adjusting the price attracts more driver-partners to an area so everyone can get a ride.

I responded with:

I know about that but let us be honest, it is price gouging no matter how you try to spin it. $200 is inexcusable. Even the $100 another user mentioned from 161st to Hell’s Kitchen is inexcusable.

Now I was not surprised by their silence after my last response as they had no legitimate argument. I know they are notorious for price gouging even on regular days as I have experienced it first hand on multiple occasions which is why I passed up on using them in those instances.

They can try & spin it with their technical term of “dynamic pricing” but anyone with a clear conscious knows they were wrong for doing that in the middle of an unexpected bigger storm. What if it was an emergency, would they do the same thing? Knowing them, probably so as they have shown that the mighty dollar trumps doing what is right.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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