NSW strikes deal with Uber to limit surge pricing when there’s a major transport incident

- June 1, 2023 2 MIN READ
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Uber’s controversial surge pricing, which has seen the US tech giant refund customers and apologise in the wake of 2014’s Lindt Cafe siege, will be capped in times of crisis under a deal with the NSW government.

The agreement is part of the Transport Management Centre incident response process to deal with unplanned public transport disruptions.

NSW transport minister Jo Haylen said Uber has agreed to continue limiting surge pricing during transport disruptions in Sydney, such as last week’s warehouse fire, which shut down the Randwick light rail, until alternative public transport options are in place and passenger demand reduces.

The new process was in place for the Chalmers Street fire and Haylen said Uber acted immediately, monitoring and limiting surge pricing and played a constructive role in delivering transport services.

“On 8 March this year the Sydney Trains network broke down and came to a standstill, and passengers suffered because of a lack of co-ordination between trains and point to point operations. I knew we needed to take action to fix this,” she said.

“Passengers deserve transparency around the reasons behind the surge and passengers deserve real choices about the way they travel.

“Some surge pricing will occur to incentivise drivers who decide to operate in the affected areas. However, it will be limited so passengers don’t end up copping exorbitant fares.”

This deal includes Uber issuing immediate notifications and in-app messages to drivers when things go wrong on the public transport network.

Uber now has 24/7 monitoring of public transport activity and processes in place to limit surge when major or safety incidents occur.

Quotes attributable to  General Manager of Uber ANZ general manager Dom Taylor said the rideshare app is now a central part of the city’s transport system.

“We feel a deep responsibility to being a collaborative and constructive part of the solution when major disruptions occur,” he said.

“Formalising this relationship with Transport NSW marks an important milestone that will work to the benefit of NSW residents.”