Uber Caps Surge Pricing During Juno Snowmageddon (Because It Sort Of Has To)

As those of us in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast prepare to slaughter a tauntaun and seek shelter from the snow in the warmth of its belly, the folks at Uber say they will put a maximum on surge pricing so as to avoid the backlash it has experienced in the past during emergencies, and because it promised it wouldn’t do this anymore.

Uber, which allows users to hail nearby available drivers via a mobile app, has a long history of seeing prices spike as demand surges.

Bloomberg reports that as the first snowflakes fell in New York City this morning, some Uber passengers were already allegedly being charged nearly three times the normal rate for a ride, but that eventually the prices went back down.

It’s possible the prices dropped as people realized that the worst of the snowfall was still hours away, but Uber says it won’t try to take advantage of snowbound passengers during the storm.

“Dynamic pricing will be capped and all Uber proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross to support relief efforts,” the company tells Bloomberg in a statement.

Of course it doesn’t have much say in that matter, at least not in New York. Last July, the company reached a deal with NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to put a cap on surge pricing during things like, say, when a few feet of snow get dumped on the city.

Uber has been roundly criticized for charging too much in the midst of tragedies and natural disasters. 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.