Commuters' fury as Uber hike fares 'by up to 50%' during rail strike

Commuters’ fury as Uber hike fares ‘by up to 50%’ as it reports ‘significant’ surge in demand during biggest rail strike in 30 years

  • Uber were criticised this morning after prices increased due more demand
  • The app automatically surges costs if there are more orders than cars available
  • The strikes by the Rail, Maritime and Transport union will last three days
  • Militant RMT union is accused of ‘punishing millions of innocent people’
  • Walkouts will hinder millions getting to work and patients from appointments

Passengers hit by the biggest rail strike in Britain for 30 years have hit out at taxi app Uber – over price hikes over the days of industrial action.

Costs for journeys surged as the Rail, Maritime and Transport union strikes kicked off properly today, grinding the country to a halt.    

Taxi operators have admitted they were expecting a ‘significant’ surge in demand during the action.

Uber’s app automatically increases prices when demand outstrips the number of cars available.

Twitter uses aired their grievances on the social media platform and said some Uber drivers seemed pleased they could help, albeit at a higher price.

One customer said: ‘Great Uber driver tells me he ‘saved me this morning’.

‘Fair enough pal – but you did charge £30 with nearly a 50% surge.’

 Another said they had been billed £1.50 a minute as the RMT action had started.

They added:  ‘Fuming why Uber wanted to charge me £15 for a less than ten minute ride but then I remembered that the rail strike starts today so of course they’re increasing their prices.’

A further Twitter user agreed:  ‘Uber will be surge pricing all through this rail strike.’

Crowded buses at 5.30am on the first day of three planned days of national rail strikes over pay, conditions and job security

Commuters at London Victoria Station that is running a very limited service due to the strike

Twitter uses aired their grievances on the social media platform this morning in rush hour

One reported that they had been charged the equivalent of £1.50 a minute to get a taxi home

Another warned Uber’s prices would be surging throughout the RMT action due to demand

But one passenger simply said they were displeased, announcing they ‘f****** hate’ the costs

Thousands of members of the RMT union at Network Rail and 13 train operators will walk out on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday in the biggest outbreak of industrial action on the railways for a generation.

Services across the UK were affected from Monday evening, with just one in five trains running on strike days, primarily on main lines and only for around 11 hours.

London Underground workers are also on strike today.

Uber said it was experiencing ‘significant’ demand and has informed drivers in order to ensure enough cars are on the road.

Travellers are seeing surge pricing with Uber, because the fare increases automatically in response to real-time demand when there are not enough available cars – although the company caps surge prices during periods of significant disruption.

A spokesperson said: ‘We are expecting significant increases in demand as a result of strike action across the rail network next week.

A picket line is seen outside Birmingham New Street station, as members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union begin their nationwide strike

A shuttered station on the Northern Line today as London Underground workers also walked out 

‘We are informing drivers of the expected increase in demand to help ensure there are enough cars out on the road.’

Elsewhere, in London Addison Lee taxis had limited availability on Tuesday morning during the main commuting hours.

Social media users have been complaining about trying to book taxis to airports but being faced with huge fares.

Lisa Grimm tweeted: ‘Attempting to pre-book a bus from Gatwick for Tuesday, since it looks like the rail strike is going ahead, and they are all gone; taxi quote is £133, so that’s fun.’

Alexis Rodney wrote on Twitter: ‘They want £200 for a taxi from Heathrow to London to cover them for the train strike. I will walk like Chaucer and the Pilgrims before I pay that.’

A London cabby with the Twitter handle @GreenBadgeE1 wrote: ‘We London Taxi drivers will be out to support you during strikes.

‘[Please] note the traffic may be more than usual and fares might be higher plz don’t take out your frustrations on us.’

Downing Street warned on Monday that it will be ‘extremely difficult’ commuting during the rail strikes.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘For those that have no choice but to come in it will be extremely difficult tomorrow and I think the public will understandably want to know why they are being put in this position.’

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