Uber Reportedly Charging Users 4X The Normal Fare In The Midst Of The Sydney Hostage Crisis [Updated]

Rahul Srinivas - Author

Dec. 14 2014, Updated 6:01 p.m. ET

As you might be already aware, Sydney is currently facing a hostage situation. As the Inquisitr reported, several people are being held hostage inside a popular cafe known as the Lindt Cafe. A man, allegedly armed with a shotgun, is being blamed for the crisis.

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Police officials have cordoned off the area, and several people have been evacuated from nearby buildings. People have reported seeing the black Islamic flag with Arabic writings from inside the cafe, raising suspicions about this being a religiously motivated attack. Rumors are also rife about this being an operation carried out by supporters of the ISIS. It is unclear as to how many people were inside the cafe, although some reports say that there are 13 people inside the cafe. Information regarding the state of the people inside the cafe remains unclear.

In the midst of this hostage crisis comes a report by Mashable, which claims that controversial cab service Uber has implemented a price surge in downtown Sydney. According to the report, Uber is now charging their users a minimum of $100 for a taxi ride.

A screenshot showing the fare, which is more than four times the normal rates, have been shared by an executive who claims to be an employee of a firm located inside within Sydney’s Central Business District. The app screenshot says that “demand is off the charts,” which is why prices have surged to sky high levels.

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According to Mathew, the person who sent in the screenshots he has “never, ever seen it at four-times [the normal rate] and I’m a 1% top Uber user.” Mathew has not divulged his last name for fears of any kind of backlash for sharing this information.

He adds, “I understand the way the business works — higher the demand, higher the charge — but four-times at $100 minimum is ridiculous. Almost price gouging at its worst four-times at $100 minimum is ridiculous. Almost price gouging at its worst.”

Update: Uber has now issued a clarification:

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In the past, Uber has confirmed that a price surge during times of high demand ensured more cars on the road, and also affected reliability of the service. However, it is likely that implementing a price surge during an emergency situation like this would only bring more bad press for the company which has been in the news since the past few months for all the wrong reasons. In New York, Uber has taken measures to ensure that price surges are not implemented during emergency situations. Clearly, the same doesn’t seem to have been implemented in Sydney.

With people being asked to stay away from the cafe and offices being evacuated, it is expected that the demand for cabs might remain high. People have reported they have found it difficult get transportation away from the area. Buses in and out of the CBD too have been affected. Several trains are overcrowded, reports ABC Australia.

Our thoughts are with the families of the people affected by the Sydney hostage crisis.

Update: Uber has clarified that the trips from the Sydney CBD would be free for riders. The higher fares are to encourage drivers to get to the CBD.

[Images via TV NZ, Mashable]


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