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Did Uber really use surge pricing after the Brooklyn shooting?

This is not okay.

Uber logo with blurred background showing driver
Image: KnowTechie

On Tuesday morning, a tragedy occurred in Brooklyn when a yet-unknown attacker fired 33 times into a crowded subway station. The city shut down the subway system and many tried to get to safety using ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft.

To add to the chaos of the moment, commuters found that both companies had implemented surge pricing in the wake of the attack.

Some of the prices were ten times the usual rates, seemingly putting profits over people’s safety. Just look at the price of the Uber ride shared by Shannon McDonagh on Twitter.

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In case you think Uber was the only one, they weren’t. Lyft also implemented surge pricing yesterday morning, while the subways were still shut down.

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That’s not just an algorithm, that’s pure profiteering from the two largest ridesharing companies during a tragedy.

Uber has also told Insider that it will “refund customers who were charged surge pricing around Sunset Park in Brooklyn.” That’s a good response, after the fact, but it didn’t have to be like this.

How many people decided against getting to safety via Uber, due to the overblown surge pricing? How many Uber drivers bravely drove into the danger zone to pick up passengers, lured in by the promise of higher than usual fares? Is surge pricing automatic or does a human make the decision?

The thing is, it seems that after the initial outrage, Uber is still implementing surge pricing again this morning. This tweet from an NYC resident shows a $41.17 UberX trip into Brooklyn, while Lyft is charging $20.55 for the same pickup and dropoff points.

Lyft is also giving discounted rides in NYC, “while transit is affected.” Riders in NYC can use NCYHELP22 for two free rides, of up to $15 each. This code will work until 4/15/22 at 11:59 pm ET, for 1000 users.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere. His hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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