MRT breakdown: Commuters say Uber tried to exploit situation

First, commuters left stranded by the MRT disruptions on Tuesday had complained of having to pay up to five times the normal price of a Uber ride.

In response, the private taxi company explained its dynamic pricing, which places multipliers on fares when demand for its taxis are higher than the number of Uber taxis on the road.

A spokesman said it turned off the feature when it realised people were stranded because of the MRT breakdown.

Despite this, some commuters claimed that before Uber turned off the feature, it had sent out alerts encouraging drivers to make more money out of the disruptions.

A reader told The New Paper that the company sent out text messages to its drivers telling them the disruptions were a good opportunity to make money.

Some of the text messages told drivers that they could "earn $$$ taking people home from MRT stations!", the reader added.


Responding to queries, a spokesman for Uber told TNP yesterday that they were aware of the messages sent.

"The messages were meant to provide incentive for the drivers to get more of them on the road so that passengers had more means to get to the locations they wanted," the spokesman added.

"There was no intention to take advantage of the situation to earn more money."

Commuters can use Uber by registering on their mobile app. Registered users can request for Uber taxis via the app and are informed of estimated fares and surges before it is confirmed. Not all commuters were upset with the company though.

Mr Kenny Koh, 30, praised the service. The IT engineer said: "They were really efficient and transparent with their prices. It was my first time using (Uber) and it won't be my last."

This article was first published on July 9, 2015.
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