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This is how Uber’s ‘surge pricing’ works

Dec 15, 2014

This post is in partnership with Time. The article below was originally published at Time.com.

By Dan Kedmey, TIME

The backlash against Uber’s surge pricing in the midst of an Australian hostage crisis on Monday was swift and decisive.

Uber riders in Sydney started tweeting about price hikes shortly after an armed assailant burst into a city cafe and took hostages, prompting a massive evacuation of offices and shops in the surrounding area. Fees hiked upwards of four times their normal rate, Mashable reported.

“I understand the way the business works — higher the demand, higher the charge — but four-times at $100 minimum is ridiculous,” one Uber user told Mashable. Almost price gouging at its worst.”

That “price gouging” argument echoed across social media Sunday evening, as it looked to many like Uber was trying to capitalize on a potentially deadly emergency. That conversation added another public relations headache to what’s already been a tough few months for Uber, which is facing lawsuits in several cities and an allegation that a male driver in India raped a female passenger.

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