Commuters battling their way through London during the tube strikes on Monday (January 9) may have thought taxi app Uber could be their saving graces.
But this has not turned out to be the case for many, after Uber's fares increased by up to four times more because of its “dynamic pricing” scheme.
Uber has defended the price surge, saying it is not a surcharge added because of the tube strikes, but is an automated to deal with demand.
Commuters have faced a nightmare morning after London Underground staff walked out at 6pm on Sunday (January 8) for 24 hours.
Severely reduced services and even station closures have troubled workers in the capital, many of whom thought Uber could help ease the rush hour stress.
Uber has now been accused of profiteering and many of those affected by the surge have taken to Twitter to voice their disquiet.
A spokesman for Uber said: “Uber uses dynamic pricing to ensure that people can always book a car when they need it.
“The fare increases automatically, and only in response to real-time demand when there are not enough available cars.
“As all of the licensed drivers who use the Uber app work independently, higher fares incentivise more drivers to go online so we can help more people get where they need to go.
“Without this pricing model there would simply be no cars available.”
How does dynamic pricing work?
Uber said a number of industries use the demand-driven pricing model, including train tickets, late night taxi tariffs and hotels during the Christmas period.
The company said it does not add surcharges based on the time of day, but instead adjusts to demand.
Uber's app uses an algorithm to analyse the demand, and when the number of people in an area outweighs the cars available, the fare will increase to attract drivers to that area.
The company claims to be 30% cheaper than its competition, and says even with increased fares it is still more affordable than competitors.
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