Uber apologises over Sydney Siege price surge

Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 10.17.32 amThe head of ride sharing service Uber’s Australian operations has issued an apology after it raised its Sydney prices in the wake of last week hostage siege in Martin Place.

In a note sent out to Uber’s Sydney customers David Rohrsheim, general manager of Uber Australia, acknowledged that surging the price of its service, as commuters attempted to get home around the police situation, was a mistake.

“The events of last week in Sydney were upsetting for the whole community and we are truly sorry for any concern that our process may have added,” wrote Rohrsheim in a note to users.

He argued that the algorithm that calculates demand and price surged automatically as demand increased but they were not quick enough to stop it.

“Surge pricing is algorithmic and kicks in automatically when demand for rides outstrips the supply of cars that are on the road. This encourages more drivers to the area where people are requesting rides…

“We didn’t stop surge pricing immediately. This was the wrong decision. We quickly reversed course and provided free rides to people needing to leave the CBD. In the end, no rider was charged to leave the CBD on Monday and all higher fares resulting from surge pricing earlier in the day were fully refunded.”

Rohrsheim did not address the fact that Uber’s social media marketing which was also promoting the higher rates that were designed to “encourage drivers to get into the CBD.” Uber

Instead the Uber Sydney boss wrote: “It’s unfortunate that the perception is that Uber did something against the interests of the public. We certainly did not intend to. We will learn from this incident and improve as a result of this lesson.”

Nic Christensen 

The full statement: Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 10.16.30 am


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