Ride sharing service Uber has issued an apology after it jacked up prices as frightened Sydneysiders fled last week’s siege at Martin Place.
With police calls to evacuate the area, demand for Uber outstripped its supply of cars, kicking in an automatic price surge to attract more cars to the area.
During the early stages of the siege, Uber’s fares reportedly jumped fourfold.
In a statement, Uber apologised, saying: “The events of last week in Sydney were upsetting for the whole community and we are truly sorry for any concern that our process may have added.”
The company said it wanted to help get as many people as possible out of the CBD, but it communicated its intentions poorly, leading to misunderstanding about its motives.
“We didn’t stop surge pricing immediately,” Uber said in its statement. “This was the wrong decision.”
But the company later reversed course, offering free rides out of the city centre and refunds to those hit by higher prices.
“It’s unfortunate that the perception is that Uber did something against the interests of the public,” Uber said. “We certainly did not intend to.”
Three people died in the siege at Martin Place’s Lindt Cafe, including gunman Man Haron Monis.