A London tube strike is pretty much guaranteed to spoil your day. But when Uber follows it up by announcing it is tripling its cab prices for the day, a difficult day can become a truly miserable one.
We were genuinely shocked by the cynicism shown by our new US rival for its customers. Uber’s decision to hike its prices by a whopping 280 per cent stinks of profiteering and is one of the most cynical moves seen on the London cab scene in a generation.
Of course, on tube strike days, cab rides can take longer. No one knows that better than us as we are London’s biggest cab company and we move over 40,000 people a day.
We also know that our drivers will be extremely busy on days like this but there is absolutely no need for us to hike our prices by almost 300 per cent to make a fair profit.
Uber is careful to position itself as a friendly, customer facing organisation but its action today shows that it is equally comfortable taking advantage of its customers to extract some additional profit.
At Addison Lee, we take a different view. We know that our customers will be enduring a difficult day with longer than average travel times and delays in getting a cab in the first place.
At times like this, we think we can show how much we care about our customers by working as hard as we can to get our customers where they need to go. We certainly don’t think it is a great time to cynically rip off our customers by unjustifiably hiking the prices.
Much has been written about Uber and it has certainly polarised opinion.
So far, Uber has tried to present its friendly face to the UK but the allegations of law breaking in France and its use of a tax dodge to reduce its VAT payments in the UK have also been noticed.
This latest scam shows the mask slipping a little more. If it is going to increase its prices by almost 300 per cent at every opportunity, it certainly won’t retain the affection of its new customers for very long.
It will be interesting to see if Uber now accepts that its price increase was a mistake or if it continues to pretend that ripping off its customers was a justified response to a difficult situation.