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City Officials To Confront Uber’s Controversial Surge Pricing

01.12.15 Rhett Jones

With the value of taxi medallions dropping and cries for regulations from leaders in the transit industry, Uber is now going to face more scrutiny from city officials. City Council members will meet with representatives of the private car service on Monday to discuss the legality of its controversial “surge pricing” policy among other issues.

Uber’s practice of charging higher prices when there is more demand for a car has faced criticism in NYC and internationally. The most recent high-profile incident saw the company being publicly ridiculed for imposing surge pricing in Sydney, Australia during a chaotic terrorist attack. Critics say the practice takes advantage of riders when they’re vulnerable; Uber says it’s just a case of supply and demand in which customers see the price before the car arrives.

According to the Associated Press, “Council members say Uber also is violating city codes regulating both the yellow taxi fleet and other black car services.” That echoes critics in the industry who believe Uber has an unfair competitive advantage due to the fact that they don’t have to be held accountable to red tape traditional cabbies face such as purchasing an extremely expensive license.

For now, the city has temporarily shutdown five of Uber’s six dispatches for refusal to submit transit records. Council members will meet with the heads of several private car companies as well as Taxi & Limousine Commissioner Meera Joshi on Monday morning to begin the process of deciding the future for car and cab services.

(Photo: Scott Beale)