Uber Charged $100 Minimum Fare To Flee Sydney Hostage Crisis Area

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Uber was offering refunds to riders in Sydney, Australia after the personal taxi service charged customers up to four times its normal rate to leave the area where a hostage situation was unfolding.

Authorities on Monday warned the public to stay away from Sydney’s central business district and evacuated buildings there after a gunman took an unknown number of hostages inside a Lindt Chocolat Cafe. Mashable reported that some Uber users trying to leave that area saw surge pricing was in effect at four times the service’s normal rate, with a minimum fare of AU$100, or $82.

Uber employs price surging when demand for the service is high — on New Year’s Eve, for example — so that more drivers are motivated to get on the road and pick up passengers.

The company quickly reversed course Monday after receiving backlash on social media.

Uber said it was “concerned with the events happening in Sydney” and would refund those customers who were charged the higher rates.

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