Crackdown on Uber surge charges in NSW

Rideshare giant Uber has been fined $412,000 for sending two million spam emails in a single day.

Rideshare giant Uber has been fined $412,000 for sending two million spam emails in a single day. Photo: AAP

Uber passengers will no longer be charged exorbitant surge fees during major public transport disruptions in NSW.

In an Australian-first crackdown, Uber has agreed to limit surge pricing during such chaotic events as city rail shutdowns.

NSW Transport Minister Jo Haylen announced the deal after some passengers were hit with huge fees when the Sydney Trains network came to a standstill in March.

Some stranded commuters reported paying up to $500 for trips that usually cost about $40.

Under the agreement, Uber will no longer impose the surge premium until alternative public transport options are in place and passenger demand reduces.

“I knew we needed to take action to fix this,” Transport Minister Jo Haylen said in a statement on Thursday.

“The government’s agreement with Uber will mean that when a serious incident happens on our transport network, surge pricing will be limited.”

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

Uber will issue 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 with a clear point of contact in the Transport Management Centre.

The new procedure came into action last week during the major fire in a building adjacent to Central Station, with Uber monitoring and limiting surge pricing.

Uber general manager Dom Taylor said the ride-share company had become an integral part of the NSW transport network over the past decade.

“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.”


Topics: Uber
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