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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There have been lots of complaints on social media about surging rates to take a ride-share vehicle during the weekend blackout.
Angela Jorge believes Uber took advantage of New Yorkers during Saturday night’s blackout.
“Oh, absolutely. They totally did,” she told CBS2’s Andrea Grymes.
With the West Side in the dark and subways a mess, Jorge considered taking an Uber to the East Side. She says usually, that trip would cost about $20. But on Saturday night, she stopped short when she saw the price.
“It was like $80 or $90. I remember it being something insane,” she said.
She’s not alone.
People on social media called out companies like Uber and Lyft for their Saturday night prices.
One woman tweeted, “Thank you @Uber_nyc and @Lyft for taking advantage of customers during Saturday’s blackout.”
Another user tweeted, “@Uber shame on you for gouging New Yorkers, during a blackout!! A $20 dollar ride is now over a $100? #shameful.”
But did these companies technically “gouge” New Yorkers?
At this point, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission has gotten no complaints of price gouging, or purposely jacking up prices during an emergency, like a power outage.
That is illegal.
What’s not illegal is “surge pricing.”
Customers routinely see these higher rates when there’s more demand for rides, like during rush hour or on a busy Saturday night.
An Uber spokesperson said they didn’t have anyone to go on-camera, but told CBS2 they capped surge pricing as soon as they got reports of the blackout.
The company did not say the exact cap, but said it fell below a 2014 agreement with the state Attorney General to limit prices during emergencies.
Lyft told CBS2 it also caps pricing during emergencies in New York.
Regardless, the TLC will be sending letters to operators requesting they divulge what modifications, if any, they made to their fare formula during the blackout.
The TLC urges anyone who believes they may have been overcharged to call 311.