Uber users enraged after NYE price surge jumps by 800 per cent

Nicholas McCallum

Uber users across Australia are enraged with the "ride sharing" service after New Year's Eve surge pricing saw fares increase eight times normal amounts.

Sydney user Skye Shanahan took an Uber from the North Sydney foreshore to her home in Quakers Hill near Blacktown and was stung with a $720 charge. The trip would normally cost about $100.

"OK, everyone raves about who cheap Uber is, we'll give it a go," Ms Shanahan told 7 News.

"Even though it says higher rate, even it's $300, we're OK to pay that."

Uber sent an email to users on New Year's Eve to warn about surge pricing. Source: Supplied


However, when she arrived at the end of her 50-minute journey, Ms Shanahan saw the massive charge on her credit card, despite her driver allegedly telling her and her friends "it's not going to cost a lot of money".

"We put our faith in him," Ms Shanahan said.

Uber has since offered $180 credit.

Perth man Kris Keen was another user stung by the surge, telling News Corp his normal $40 ride jumped to $330 in the peak hours after midnight.

The 'dynamic pricing' peak periods from Uber. Source: Supplied

Many more complaints filled the company's Facebook page, with one man enraged he paid $106 for a 12-minute ride.

"What a way to bring in the new year. Thanks uber! My resolution will be to avoid this service in 2016 (sic)," he wrote.

Moderators on the page were prompt to respond to complaints, saying, "Dynamic pricing encourages more drivers to get on the road so everyone can get a ride."

"Keep checking your app. The pricing can change quickly! You can also fare split with friends to keep your ride low-cost."

But the expensive lesson in free-market economics did not come without warning.

Uber sent an email to users on New Year's Eve warning of surge pricing peak times from 12am to 4am and how to avoid the exorbitant charges.

In addition, the Uber app allows users to calculate their fares before pick up and includes an alert system to inform customers when surges drop off.