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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags internetindustry verticalsInternet-based applications and servicesAutomotiveUber

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

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?