Could Uber Surge Pricing Become Illegal?

Photo: Courtesy of Uber.
Despite its popularity, ride-sharing app Uber hasn't been immune to scandal. There's the start-up company's reportedly misogynistic culture. The sexual-assault allegations. The unreliable routes. The (pretty awful) privacy rules. Oh, and its unpredictable (and sometimes laughably high) surge pricing — whereby rates increase dramatically as demand for cars rises at any given time — which some believe is a policy designed to take advantage of customers when they are most desperate for a ride.
Well, someone with the authority to do something about it (at least in New York) is finally calling Uber out. Brooklyn councilman David G. Greenfield this week proposed legislation at a City Council transportation-committee hearing that would cap surge-pricing increases at 100% of a regular fare.
"As New Yorkers, we live and die by the rule that we do not want to be ripped off. Many of our cabbies are immigrants who are being punished by a $40 billion corporation," he told The New York Times, adding, "It’s quashing the American dream here in New York City."
What else is it quashing? Our wallets (and sometimes our sanity), that's for sure. The thing is, as a privately owned company, Uber is technically free to charge whatever it wants. (And, if customers are indeed willing to drop $362.57 on a 20-minute ride, it's no surprise that Uber continues to jack up prices.) So, do we welcome the passage of Greenfield's proposed legislation? Yes. Do we see it actually getting passed? Only in our very expensive, surge-priced dreams. (The New York Times)

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