Nearly three years ago, Uber received significant backlash after it charged surge prices during a hostage situation in Sydney, Australia, leading the company to refund riders for those trips. A similar situation is playing out in London after the ride-hailing service charged customers caught up in a recent terror attack more for rides to safety.
Uber officials in London on Sunday announced the company would refund passengers after reports surfaced that the company had increased ride rates shortly after a terror attack near the London Bridge left dozens injured and seven dead.
The Independent reports that Uber users flooded Twitter with complaints shortly after the incident occurred Saturday evening, noting that rides cost several times more than what they would have normally paid.
Uber has a long history of seeing prices spike as demand surges. The company has long maintained that the system encourages more drivers to come online and pick up passengers.
The company says that as soon as it heard about Saturday’s incident it “immediately suspended dynamic pricing all around the area of the attacks and shortly afterwards across the whole of central London.”
“Our hearts go out to everybody affected by yet another horrific attack on our city. We’d like to thank all the drivers who helped tens of thousands of Londoners get home safely last night,” the company says. “We are also ensuring all rides from around the affected area were free of charge.”
In the past, the company has said it would not use surge pricing in areas that have been subject to natural disasters and other events in which people need to vacate the area quickly.
Despite this, the company has been criticized for failing to act quickly enough to drop prices when these events occur.
In Oct. 2014, after a deadly train crash in Palo Alto, CA, delayed public transportation, Uber prices temporarily increased. A few weeks later, as more than a dozen people were held hostage in a Sydney, Australia, mall, Uber initially took advantage of surge pricing. Following a public backlash, the company apologized and offered free rides.