Uber has apologised for the sharp rise in prices that occurred in the midst of the Sydney siege.
Uber's prices quadrupled thanks to a massive surge in demand during the crisis that resulted in the deaths of three people. The taxi app's surge pricing policy is triggered automatically by way of an algorithm.
On the day of the siege, Uber reversed the surge price policy in Sydney and offered free rides and refunds for those who had been affected by the rise in prices.
Uber said in blog post:
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. We didn't stop surge pricing immediately. This was the wrong decision.
Our priority was to help get as many people out of the CBD safely in the midst of a fast-moving event. The decisions we made were based only on helping to achieve this, but we communicated this poorly, leading to a lot of misunderstanding about our motivation
Uber already has a policy of limiting surge pricing in the US during national emergencies. The company had originally argued that the rise in prices was justified so as to get more Uber drivers onto the road to take people to safety.