Uber Is Refunding Surge Pricing That Hit During London Terror Attack

REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

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Eric Lieberman Managing Editor
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The ride-hailing company Uber reportedly plans on refunding customers who used the service Saturday night near and during the London Bridge terrorist attack.

Several people vilified Uber on social media after its business model naturally caused prices to surge in correlation with demand. Uber’s ride fare algorithm accounts for busy hours, meaning it will charge extra when there are more requests for trips and less available drivers.

The tech conglomerate temporarily suspended the surge pricing later that night, soon after the multiple incidences of terrorism unfolded, according to BBC. Officials believe that seven people were killed, and 48 injured from the three attacks, which included a mowing down of pedestrians on the London Bridge and a stabbing spree.

“Our hearts go out to everybody affected by yet another horrific attack on our city. We’d like to thank all the drivers who helped tens of thousands of Londoners get home safely last night,” Tom Elvidge, general manager of Uber in London, wrote on an official blog post. “As soon as we heard about the incident we immediately suspended dynamic pricing all around the area of the attacks – and shortly afterwards across the whole of central London – just as we did following the attacks in Manchester and Westminster.”

Elvidge also said that all rides “around the affected area” were free and that the company is currently working with law enforcement to help them get any footage from drivers who may have been near the impacted locations.

The latest situation isn’t the first time the company has been criticized for its surge pricing payment system. (RELATED: People Were Stranded In Austin Because Of Uber And Lyft Restrictions)

Uber issued an apology in January after people complained that surge pricing was automatically employed while protests against the Trump administration’s immigration ban were ongoing at airports across the country.

As thousands of customers began deleting their accounts, Uber’s competitors tried to capitalize on the situation. Lyft, the ride-sharing service “little brother” to Uber, announced in a post titled “Defending Our Values” that it was donating $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a lawsuit challenging Trump’s executive orders.

Lyft’s usage dramatically increased following the initial Uber protest, according to CNBC. Somewhat ironically, one of Lyft’s major investors is a vocal Trump supporter.

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