Uber rage: Bostonians irate over price surge in snow rides

A screenshot of an Uber Boston transaction. Photo credit: Twitter/@SavvyBostonian
A screenshot of an Uber Boston transaction. Credit: Twitter/@SavvyBostonian

Plenty of Bostonians braved the snow Saturday night only to realize that getting back home in comfort would cost them big time.

Uber Boston’s rates saw a dramatic increase late Saturday into Sunday morning due to “off the charts” demand as the season’s first winter storm dropped 4.2 inches of snow on the city. Some angry Uber Boston users reported paying four times the usual price for a ride home.

Back Bay resident Jessica Gioglio was surprised to be charged $91 for a 3-mile trip.

“This was ultimately a learning experience for me. The road conditions were not good and I’m grateful that my Uber driver got my friend and I home safely,” said Gioglio.

“I knew it was going to be more expensive than usual, but didn’t quite expect my fare to be $91. I’ll continue to use Uber, but will be more cautious about accepting surge pricing fares in the future,” she said.

Twitter user @TheNeonBarbie reached out to the company Sunday, saying she unknowingly racked up a $170 bill on a 7-mile ride and planned to dispute the transaction.

“The fact that you guys think it’s okay to triple the cost of a normal taxi fare because of ‘high demand’ is complete bulls—t,” she tweeted.

The high prices were not unique to Boston; Uber New York customers were also subjected to sky high surges Saturday night. One Uber New York passenger reported being charged nearly eight times more than usual.

The company responded to frustrated customers on Twitter, saying, “The increased fare ensures more drivers on the road during a busy, snowy night! … You have to confirm their rate (showing the fare minimum) prior to requesting the ride. We do this so there are no surprises!”

In an email to Metro, Meghan Verena Joyce, general manager of Uber Boston, explained the reasoning for the price increase.

“The purpose of increased fares during periods of high demand is to increase reliability during the hardest times to get a ride. Increased fares encourage our partners to put more cars on the road and to stay out later during periods of high demand, like the cold, snowy night we had [Saturday] evening. This means that more people are able to get rides, and fewer people get stranded.”

She went on to say, “Prices are always displayed in the app, and at times of increased fares, riders are notified and given the opportunity to accept or decline a ride at the higher rate. After a rider taps Select Pickup Location, she will see a notice of the increased price, and is asked to tap ‘I accept higher fare’ before requesting a ride. When prices reach higher levels, as they did last night, riders are asked to confirm a second time by typing the actual price increase into the app.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NBA

Deron Williams leads Nets over Raptors in Game…

The Nets traveled to a raucous Air Canada Centre but came out with an important Game 1 victory over the Raptors.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.