Uber and Lyft U-turn following New York shooting surge charge
Uber and Lyft face public backlash after prices surged during the New York subway shootings yesterday.
Ride-hailers reported that prices went from $70 (£53) for rides out of Sunset Park, where the shootings took place. The surrounding Brooklyn area also saw prices rocket after subways closed, leaving worried New Yorkers with hefty charges.
“Fare surge after a mass shooting in Brooklyn when subways are shut down. Shame on you @Uber,” one Twitter user said.
The companies have since apologised for the incidence and have offered refunds for these rides.
Uber said in a statement that it had “disabled surge pricing”, and are in the process of refunding users.
Meanwhile, Lyft said it will be providing discounted rides in New York whilst the subways remain affected by the fallout of the attack.
Discussing the fallout, Head of TMT Research at Mirabaud Equity Neil Campling told City A.M.: “This isn’t the first time that the app economy companies have been pressured after own-goal policies. If you are being kind, you could suggest this is the fault of AI and the risks of technology, rather than people, leading processes.
“If you weren’t feeling quite so charitable, you have to remember that there has been a #DeleteUber campaign in the past, a number of surge price controversies and backlash against policies of workers/non-workers which has led to a variety of legal changes.”
He said a common thread with ride-hailing apps is that they are “reactive” rather than “pre-emptive, which could ultimately backfire.
Uber have been contacted by City A.M. to discuss whether this surge charge was the product of a human error or an automated system.
New York Police Department (NYPD) said 33 shots were fired in the shooting, with at least ten people shot.
Police said they were looking for Frank R James, 62, that may be linked to the shooting.
Whilst the shooter has not yet been caught, and the police have announced a $50,000 reward for information about the crime.