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Uber Public Relations News

Uber withdraws inflated fees to people escaping Sydney armed hostage situation following backlash


By Ishbel Macleod | PR and social media consultant

December 15, 2014 | 3 min read

Uber has stopped over-charging people fleeing from an area in which people have been taken hostage in Australia, after having initially ramped up charges to a minimum of $100 to ferry people from the surrounding area.

Uber Sydney

Currently up to 20 hostages are being held at the Lindt Chocolat Café in Martin Place in Sydney's Central Business District by a gunman who is believed to be part of Isis, after he forced the hostages to display an Islamic flag in the window.

Those trying to get an Uber cab out of the area were told that the high price was due to the rising demand, with a trip to the local airport expected to cost between $145-185, according to a screenshot.

really Uber? $145-185 for a drop off at the airport? #ubersydney #wackquote

A photo posted by @i_am_joe on

Uber claimed that surge pricing only remains in place to encourage more drivers to come online and pick up passengers from the area.

However, following the backlash, the company has now said that it will pick up the tab for people looking to escape from the area, and will refund those who had paid for a ride during the siege.

Uber spokesperson Katie Curran told Mashable: "We are all concerned with the events happening in Sydney. Uber Sydney will be providing free rides out of the CBD to help Sydneysiders get home safely."

This is the latest in a series of PR disasters for Uber, who has been banned in several countries including New Delhi after a driver attacked a passenger and in Spain and India for being an unregulated service.

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