Ride-sharing service Uber was criticized for keeping its surge pricing in place as panicked pedestrians tried to escape the terrorists who plowed into people on the London Bridge with a van and stabbed patrons at nearby bars.
Users of the app went on social media to blast the company for being slow to end the surge pricing and accused it of trying to profit from attacks that sent streams of people fleeing the rampage that killed seven and wounded scores Saturday night.
“Big fan of @Uber but bitterly disappointed in profiting from a terrorist attack. ~£7 Knightsbridge to Victoria. Charging £40 #UberLondon,” said Simon Moores in a tweet from Saturday night, referring to the fare increase from about $8 to $45.
“Hey @Uber — you’re really going to surge price x2.1 during a terrorist attack in #London??? Lower than low. #londonbridge #emergency,” Amber Clemente wrote on the social media messaging site.
Tom Elvidge, Uber’s general manager in London, defended the company’s response.
“As soon as we heard about the incident we immediately suspended dynamic pricing all around the area of the attacks – and shortly afterward across the whole of central London – just as we did following the attacks in Manchester and Westminster,” he said.
Uber uses an algorithm that raises prices when demand is high, but usually turns off the program during emergencies and disasters.
According to CNN, the first calls to emergency services were made at 10:08 p.m. Saturday. Uber said it had disabled surge pricing in the area around the attack by 10:50 p.m. and extended the suspension to include all of central London by 11:40 p.m.