The Underground workers strike, otherwise known by #TubeStrike, was more than enough for Uber to raise their already ridiculous fares to a £14.50 minimum. Since roughly 4 million commuters use the Underground daily, Uber activated their surge pricing during the widely-known strike. To help compensate for stranded riders, London has activated more city buses and other modes of transportation, yet Uber is still cashing in on the city’s pandemonium. Travel has been nothing short of chaotic in Europe’s largest city, crippling an entire transportation infrastructure and forcing workers to rely on Uber and black cabs.
London’s taxicab system and those frequenting the taxi-booking app criticize Uber for their surge pricing policy, which happens when fares rise due to increasing demand during popular times. If motorists are stuck at traffic lights now, for example, Uber would charge 43 pence per minute instead of its regular 15 pence rate. This exploitation of consumer need has created outrage around the world, with many taxicab companies forced to lower company rates or close up shop.
Uber, which nets 20 percent of each fare, was recently forced to stop their UberPop service in France as it connected paying customers with unlicensed drivers, according to The Guardian. They’ve also been exposed for allowing drivers to possess fake insurance documents. To make matters worse, three Uber drivers have filed suit claiming they should be treated as employees and could easily contest California’s strict labor laws.
Representatives from the multi-billion dollar company defend the sudden price hikes, citing the need to incentivize more drivers to work during peak busy times. Once the demand drops, the fares will subside. Even during times of lessened demand, Uber fares still run cheaper than black cab’s Tariff 1 and Tariff 3 minimum fares, yet black cab hasn’t seen the turmoil like the strike in Paris, either.
Many Uber drivers in London and surrounding cities survive on less than minimum wage, often times spending the greater portion of take-home pay on fuel and other vehicle expenses. Since Uber allows approved drivers to schedule their own pickups and work schedules, scores of drivers work 10 or more hours just to profit. Other app-based taxi services in London include Gett, Hailo, and Addison Lee, with the latter keeping their prices competitive with Uber. As of this publication, neither have raised their rates to coincide with Uber’s sordid logic.
As the Underground began their strike and fares began to skyrocket, one protester held up an UBER sign that read: “(U)nprofessional (B)ureaucratic (E)lusive (R)oguery.” According to customers and drivers of this taxi app service, this statement speaks volumes of what is, and is to come.
You can see how #TubeStrike is trending today on Twitter.
[Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez / Getty Images]