Roll up to the club in your Uber Escalade.
People who try to make a quick buck off other people’s expense generally suck, right? Then we can all agree that Uber’s practice of “surge pricing,” meant to incentivize their drivers to maintain service during natural disasters is pretty sucky. Proof that the US-based service nearly doubled their base rate to $26 for their on-demand car service was littered across social media. Blogger Aron Solomon who documented the behaviour, noted that, “There may not be a law forbidding you from price-gouging, but doing so makes you an asshole.”
Uber Toronto explains that the surges are meant to “incentivize our driver partners [who are not Uber employees] to help with increased demand,” and maintains that its taxi product was regularly priced all evening.
UPDATE / CORRECTION: Previously this article and its headline stated that Uber denied surge pricing had been activated at all. Upon closer review, it seems that Uber’s response to the initial complaints pointed out that, while the price of their Black Car service did increase in response to high demand, Uber’s taxi service prices never change. This does not technically amount to a denial so we’ve changed the article and headline to reflect this.
We regret that we posted this story hastily, but the fact remains that some of Uber’s services nearly doubled in price during the storm and many customers were very upset by that.
You can read an official response to the backlash from Uber Toronto GM Billy Guernier here.
More about Toronto’s taxi industry:
Vidal Wu is an intern at Toronto Standard. You can follow him on Twitter at @vidalwuu.