nypost.com Passengers are blasting the Uber car-service app for its “surge’’-pricing scheme, which kicked in during the city’s first snowstorm of the season — in one case pricing a short trip across town at a whopping $132. Complaints about the astronomical fares went viral Sunday on Twitter, with users posting screenshots of Uber ride offers from the day before that cost up to 8.25 times more than usual. Irked TV sportscaster Michelle Beadle said she was quoted the eye-popping price of $132 for a quick ride Saturday night. “Love ya @uber, but $132.00 to get across town last night?! I’m not made of money!” she tweeted.
Brooklynite Brian Bonczek, a software developer, tweeted a screenshot of an Uber offer at 12:40 a.m. Saturday that noted, “Demand is off the charts!” and said livery-car rides were going at 7.75 times the normal rate. That offer worked out to $5.81 a minute or $23.25 a mile — with a minimum fare of $93. “The Uber situation in Brooklyn right now is not particularly great,” Bonczek noted in what was likely the understatement of the night.
Neither Beadle nor Bonczek responded to requests for comment, and it was unclear if either dug that deep for the ride. But in Boston, blogger Jessica Gioglio — who bills herself as “The Savvy Bostonian” — shelled out $91 for a 3.18-mile, 16-minute trip from Beantown’s Back Bay to Central Square.
Posting a screenshot of her e-mail receipt, she called the fare “price-gouging” and said, “I’m really disappointed in u guys.” Uber subscribers use their smartphones to get fare quotes for trips and summon livery cars or taxis to provide the rides. The app’s practice of surge pricing is actually designed to help consumers, Uber spokeswoman Nairi Hourdajian insisted Sunday.
The higher rates “get more cars on the road quickly when demand outstrips supply, helping to guarantee that New Yorkers can get a ride when and where they want,” she said.As soon as demand falls or supply increases sufficiently, prices return to normal.”
The company was widely criticized for its surge pricing following Hurricane Sandy, when rates doubled, prompting a temporary cancellation of the policy. Uber — which is backed by investors including Goldman Sachs and Google Ventures — was founded in 2009 and operates in more than 50 cities and 23 countries.
Twitter user @allyzay noted the steep prices, but urged personal responsibility, tweeting, “Listen, uber’s ridic surge pricing is s—-y but if you paid $170 for a cab last night you’re the problem, dudes.”