Sunday, December 14, 2014

Uber Makes Sydney Hostage Situation More Expensive

Photo credit Flickr TheTruthAbout
In case you've been under a rock for the past several hours, you should know that there's a major hostage situation in Sydney, Australia's central business district. All that is know as of the writing of this post is that a person(s) is holding numerous hostages in a cafe. That person also placed an Islamic flag in the window, sparking fears that it's a terrorist attack.

Because of the threat of potential bombings, authorities have been evacuating numerous soft targets like the Sydney Opera House, much (if not all?) of the central business district, etc. A number of businesses in the area have also shut down voluntarily.

The result is that a lot of people are looking to get home or at least somewhere they perceive as safe while danger seems imminent. With all those people looking for a ride, Uber is stepping up, but not in the way you would hope.

Mashable broke the story about how Uber's surge pricing structure is making it ultra-expensive to get a ride. That structure is designed to make rates climb dramatically when demand does as well. It's the dark side of a completely free market where pricing can run afoul in the right situation.

The whole thing is a public relations nightmare for Uber, which already has been taking quite a bit of flack from governments around the world. People are understandably upset as they have had to pay in the neighborhood of $100 for a ride. Uber scrambled to make all rides out of the central business district free of charge, but it was too little, too late.

So there you go, in the moment of need Uber appealed to greed instead of higher motivations of humanity.

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