Automotive

Uber, Lyft Face Criticism Over Surge Prices After NYC Subway Shooting


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Photo: Matthew Horwood (Getty Images)

On the morning of Tuesday, April 12, 16 people were wounded in a shooting that took place on a New York City subway platform. Train lines were impacted, resulting in a chaotic rush of morning traffic — and rideshare platforms Uber and Lyft seemed to raise prices with surge fares as people tried to flee the area.

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Many people took to Twitter to criticize the sudden jump in fares as people moved to leave, Engadget reports.

Rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft feature an algorithm that can automatically increase fares during periods of time where the demand for a ride suddenly increases or when there aren’t enough drivers on the road to cater to the rider demand. You’ll see surges pop up during rush hour periods, after large events end, and even in instances of poor weather. You’ll also, apparently, see them as people attempt to escape a dangerous area.

This isn’t necessarily surprising, though. From Engadget:

Still, this is far from the first time rideshare companies have managed to bungle similar circumstances. Surge pricing spiked after a bomb in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan injured dozens in 2016; in Sydney, Australia during a 16-hour hostage crisis in 2014; in London after a vehicle was deliberately driven into a crowd of pedestrians in 2017; and in 2020 after eight people were shot in downtown Seattle, leaving one dead.

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Uber and Lyft both stepped forward to announce they had disabled surge pricing in the area, and spokespeople the companies said they’d also work to refund people who experienced “unintended charges during this emergency.” Basically, Uber and Lyft will be giving back the surge money; people will still be charged with a basic fare.

Neither company has announced how long the surge reduction will last.

As of right now, New York police have not captured the person responsible for the subway shooting.

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