@Uber_Philly wow! Got charged $75 for a less than a mile ride! Insane!
— Max (@Max_Philly) December 15, 2013
But to be fair, we had a cabbie who just totally ran a stop sign on Saturday, so ya get what you pay for: As it basically snowed/rained/sleeted sideways on Saturday, some of you still had places to be. And rather than take an unreliable cab — which might still be driving as recklessly as they all do — maybe you decided to throw some extra money out there to take an Uber ride. If you did that, you may have seen what a whole bunch of other people saw (and tweeted at Uber about): The prices were higher.
Uber’s practice of raising the cost of their service in bad weather conditions (aka when the customer would need it the most) — something more commonly known as price gouging — is not something they hide. In fact, according to the Valleywag piece on the company’s NYC price bumps — taking the ride up to 7x what it usually costs:
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is an adamant defender of his company’s gouging practices, suggesting they’re not going to change anytime soon. By jacking up the price of a standard UberX ride by a factor of seven or eight, Kalanick says he’s incentivizing drivers to work during horrendous winter hell-storms, popular Saturday nights, or any other time when people really want to use Uber. More cars, more rides, everyone’s happy.”
Even our own tweet to the company, after it was piggy-backed by someone else, got a response from Uber that totally skirted the price issue. But even as Valleywag points out, this is almost kinda fair. You don’t have to take Uber places (though it’s nice to, when it’s snowing sideways and your cabbie is waiting until he’s ten feet from an intersection to apply the brakes at a red light), and the people driving those Uber rides need some incentive to go out there and pick you up too. As the one tweet about the repeated cancellation proved, they don’t really have to come get you. But now we know, the next time we see snow in the forecast, we’ll have to run down to the Coinstar machine so we can get that ride we need.