On Monday morning, a number of Toronto commuters took to social media to voice their anger at sudden rate hikes that went into effect on Uber and Lyft during a power outage.
The outage affected nearly 20,000 customers and disrupted TTC subway service on Line 2. This drove prices on Uber and Lyft up as much as five times the normal rate.
Jake Williams regularly takes Uber from downtown Toronto to Mississauga and was stunned to see the cost of his ride after “dynamic pricing” went into effect during the power outage. In a statement to Global News Toronto, he said:
“Normally it costs me around $32 to $35 to go back home. This was going all the way up to $110. I was kinda forced to stay in Toronto and do nothing for three and a half hours waiting for the prices to become a little less ridiculous.”
In a statement, Uber acknowledged its dynamic pricing policy, saying that in times of high demand fares increase to ensure that a driver is always nearby. Lyft also employs a similar strategy called “Prime Time” which increases prices when there are more ride requests than available drivers.
Unfortunately, there is not really much that commuters can do when there is a sudden change in weather conditions. However, Lyft does offer a price lock if a user schedules a ride in advance, which can be booked between 30 minutes and seven days ahead of time.