‘York to Strensall for £90’ – Uber accused of using the bad weather to rip-off travellers

An Uber car registered in Leeds driving in York. Photograph: Richard McDougall
19 Mar 2018 @ 7.47 pm
| News, Transport

A series of price hikes during the bad weather this weekend left Uber accused of ripping off the public.

The ‘surge pricing’ algorithm deployed by the taxi app saw relatively short journeys become very expensive.

Screenshots posted on the York Private Hire Group on Facebook showed a journey from central York to Strensall costing between £69 and £90 in the early hours of Sunday morning.

York taxi drivers said they would charge £15.

And Uber’s price for a 14-mile journey from York to Pocklington was quoted as £113-£149. This would cost £32 in a York taxi, drivers say.

Other Uber screenshots showed:

  • York to Selby £121-£159
  • York to Copmanthorpe £54-£69
  • York to Malton £155-£205

‘Blatant exploitation’

Two of the screenshots from the Facebook Group page

Weekend revellers could pay a hefty price for relying on Uber, members of the York Private Hire Group said. One wrote on Sunday (March 18): “Uber ripping the public off in York tonight.

“Had a few drinks?? Be careful, you don’t want to wake up and find uber have emptied your bank account with their blatant exploitation because of the weather!”

One woman commenting on the post the same day said her daughter had been hit:

Daughter checked receipt today town to Acomb – £41 taken from bank account!

Although City of York Council has refused Uber a licence, it doesn’t stop Uber drivers licensed by other authorities from working in York.

Dynamic pricing

An Uber spokesperson said: “The last couple of days have been really challenging for transport services and anyone trying to get around.

“Bad weather has seen more people looking to book a car with Uber but fewer drivers on the road which caused prices to automatically increase.

“Our app uses dynamic pricing to encourage more drivers to pick up fares so that more cars are available. Users can always see a fare estimate before they book, wait until prices have gone back down again or split the fare with others through the app.

“We’d encourage both riders and drivers to stay safe and follow the latest travel advice.”