By now you’ve no doubt heard about the massive snowstorm that is currently making its way along the upper Eastern Seaboard of the United States. The storm, dubbed ‘Juno’ by the National Weather Service, looks to dump up to three feet of snow in some areas. This will be accompanied by potential wind gusts that could rise to fifty miles per hour and thunder.
The blizzard is slated to last until late Tuesday evening. Adjectives like ‘historic’ and harrowing’ to describe this storm has made both New York and New Jersey declare state of emergencies in the past hour. Mass public transit within New York City and other metro areas in the path of the storm will begin to shut down in the evening hours as the storm is expected to intensify Monday night. For commuters and other folks in transit, this means having to explore other options.
Uber Technologies Inc., the company behind the popular app that lets you hail a private car from your smartphone, has just announced that they intend to cap their established surge pricing for the duration of the snowstorm in East Coast cities they service. The same surge pricing that has seen Uber take more punches to the body than a sparring partner for Mike Tyson in his glory years in terms of public relations. Those who use Uber during rush hour, holidays and in other adverse traffic conditions have heavily complained about the company’s costly pricing that by some records have seen bills rise up to eight times the original amount. This was magnified by their actions in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in 2012 among other incidents. These misdeeds led to the San Francisco-based company agreeing with New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to end such acts.
Uber will also donate all profits it makes during the storm to the American Red Cross. This move is two-fold; yes, Uber is going forth and honoring their agreement. But it also is a way for the embattled ride-sharing company to beat back some of the bad feeling it has stirred up over the past couple of years despite its successes. Subsequently, the move has also compelled competitors like Lyft to reiterate that they don’t subscribe to surge price gouging.
One key point to watch, however, may be how Uber will operate under these guidelines since New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio declared that all vehicles that are non-emergency must be off the roads starting at 11 p.m. Monday night and other cities are contemplating the same policy.