Uber agrees to limit 'surge pricing' during emergencies, natural disasters

The ride-for-hire service could have faced legal action under New York's price gouging statute

Uber has agreed to put a cap on its tactic of raising prices during emergencies and natural disasters.

The agreement with New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman came after the service received sharp criticism for raising prices during extreme weather that hit New York earlier this year. In some cases, passengers were charged more than US$100 for rides of just a few miles.

Schneiderman had held out the prospect of prosecution under New York's price gouging statute as he talked to the company.

Under the deal, Uber will still exercise "surge pricing" -- a dynamic adjustment of fares to suit demand -- but the price it charges will be limited during "abnormal disruptions of the market," which typically refers to weather-related emergencies and natural disasters, but also encompasses things like power failures, civil disorder and wars.

At those times, Uber will be limited to "the normal range of prices it charged in the preceding sixty days." When calculating that rate, there will be an additional exclusion on "the three highest prices charged on different days during that period."

While the agreement just covers New York state, Schneiderman's office said Uber is going to roll out a similar cap nationwide.

"Uber is expected to announce a national policy to limit pricing in emergencies that is based on this agreement," it said in a statement.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick carefully praised the agreement in a statement and promoted it as a model for possible future regulatory agreements with other arms of government.

"This policy intends to strike the careful balance between the goal of transportation availability with community expectations of affordability during disasters," he said. "Our collaborative solution with Attorney General Schneiderman is a model for technology companies and regulators in local, state and federal government."

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags UberInternet-based applications and servicesAutomotiveindustry verticalsinternet

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?