While scared Londoners were trying to flee the site of vicious attacks, where three attackers plowed a van into pedestrians on a bridge and then went on a stabbing rampage, Uber was allegedly charging inflated rates to drive them to safety.
The popular ride-sharing app sparked harsh criticism on social media for not disabling its surged pricing feature — a controversial practice where the company charges a higher rate when a large number of people are requesting rides from the same area — during the attacks near London Bridge that killed seven people and injured at least 48.
Some people had to pay more than five times the price they usually pay to get home. For instance, Uber reportedly charged Twitter user Simon Moores £40 ($52) for a ride from Knightsbridge to Victoria, which he said costs around £7 ($9) on regular days.
Making profit off people desperately trying to get away from a brutal rampage is just appalling.
Absolutely disgusting that #Uber prices surge in London tonight? How disrespectful to the situation can you be?— Lucy (@Luckyloux) June 4, 2017
hearing Uber have gone to surge pricing in London, reminder that capitalism will eat you alive if it gets a chance— What duck? (@geeoharee) June 3, 2017
Social media users also thanked the black cab drivers who stopped to help others in the time of crisis and gave free rides home to numerous people.
Taxi drivers taking people away from London Bridge for free, while Uber is surge charging 😒— Laura (@lauradronfield) June 3, 2017
Uber users of UK. This disgusting illegal mob were surge charging in Manchester and London. Whist the Black Taxi drove for FREE. Uber R Vile— Blue Lion2007 (@Bluelion2007) June 4, 2017
Many people couldn't get home last night because of Uber surge pricing. Meanwhile, London black cabs were giving stranded people free rides.— Nicholas Drummond (@nicholadrummond) June 4, 2017
Now you see why Black Cabs are better than @Uber. Upping there surge to 2.1x after whats happened in London. Disgusting— Muzzy (@muzzyboii) June 4, 2017
Meanwhile, the general manager for Uber London, Tom Elvidge, defended the company's response and said they would not charge users for rides taken from areas near the attack.
“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.
According to CNN, police received the first reports of the attack at 10:08 p.m. local time while Uber claims it suspended the surge pricing 42 minutes later at 10:50.
However, some people did not agree with the statement.
Earlier this year, the cab-hailing service has come under fire for profiting from a strike by New York's taxi drivers held against President Donald Trump's executive order restricting Muslim travelers and refugees from entering the country.
While the New York Taxi Workers Alliance refused to pick up airport passengers as protesters rallied against the discriminatory ban inside John F. Kennedy International Airport, Uber failed to shut down its services, prompting hashtag #DeleteUber to trend worldwide.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters