AUSTIN (KXAN) — Several Uber riders are upset after they paid hundreds of dollars to get a ride home. Many of them voiced their complaints to KXAN’s ReportIt line about last weekend’s price surge. During the Halloween and Formula 1 , it cost some people more than $200 to take an Uber car home.
“We were under the influence and it was definitely smarter to take a service to drive us home than to drive ourselves,” said Daniel Patton who went out Friday night and used an Uber to get home. “If you do want to surge prices, I would be willing to pay two times the normal to get home safely, but 10 times the normal wage is ridiculous.”
Patton said he paid $295.89 for an 11-mile trip from downtown to North Austin. A ride he said would have cost him far less if he had taken a cab.
“I was mind-blown because I had used Uber only one time before and it cost me $29 to go from 6th Street to my house in Northern Austin,” said Patton. “I’m definitely going to use cabs from now on because you can physically see what your fare is right in front of you at all times.”
A spokesperson for Uber said the rates increase during peak hours and major events. The company said when there are not enough cars on the road, the surge prices will go into effect to help during the busiest times. Once there are enough cars on the road, the prices will go down.
“Uber was founded with the goal of ensuring a safe, reliable ride, wherever and whenever. For many riders, Uber is the ride of choice, and dynamic pricing allows us to remain the reliable choice, even on the busiest nights of the year,” the company said in a statement to KXAN.
The company said when rates are more than double, riders have to type in the specific “dynamic pricing multiplier” and its fare estimate to make sure people understand what to expect. Patton said he didn’t see that come up on his app.
“I had not seen their policies about surge prices. I reached back out to them saying this is completely absurd,” said Patton. “I had only used Uber one time previously to this and it did not notify me of that and it didn’t do it this time so I don’t know if there was something wrong with the app at the particular time I used it.”
When city council approved a temporary ordinance to allow ride sharing companies, council members were not able to pass an amendment that would regulate rates. The city also opened up their application process this week which requires companies to file the proper paperwork to legally operate within Austin.
Uber did send out an email to users today saying this week it will have low fares.