Taxi firm Uber has been accused of ‘robbery’ after the company tripled its prices to cash in on the traffic chaos caused by the biggest London Underground strike in 13 years.
Uber users tweeted their
anger at the online taxi company, expressing outrage as taxi
fares rose by up to 300 percent at a time when thousands of
Londoners were struggling to get to work.
“Demand is off the charts! Fares have increased to get more
Ubers on the road,” the app stated.
London commuters described scenes of “absolute carnage”
as the city grapples with a 24-hour tube strike which was called
by several transport unions in response to unresolved disputes
over the introduction of night tube services in September.
In response to the surge in demand, Uber raised its minimum fare
to £14.50 (US$22.30) with an additional fee of £3.62 per mile. If
the cab is stuck in traffic, passengers must pay an extra 43p per
Prices began rising from 5:30am as commuters ordered cabs early
to avoid the traffic.
“I hope London’s black cab drivers take advantage of this and
get additional fares today to help Londoners out,” London
Mayor Boris Johnson told LBC Radio.
Uber triple prices for the #TubeStrike
That’s not capitalism, it’s robbery. London black cabs still
the greatest taxi drivers on the planet!
— Tony Parsons (@TonyParsonsUK) July
— Carolina R. Pietoso (@tantundem) July
Despite an extra 200 buses and additional river services being
laid on, many commuters still experienced long and difficult
trips to work.
Commuters tweeted pictures of “chaotic scenes” as people
attempted to board packed buses. In one instance police were
called when a driver refused to continue his route because the
bus had too many passengers.
— Andrée Massiah (@andree_massiah) July
— alfieGREEN (@ItsAlfieGreen) July
Large crowds reportedly built up around the busiest Underground
stations on Wednesday evening as commuters attempted to beat the
strike, which began at 6:30pm.
The Victoria and Northern lines were temporarily suspended and
Oxford Circus station was intermittently closed while Transport
for London (TfL) tried to control passenger flow ahead of the
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said authorities
should factor disruption into their policing.
Other twitter users saw the bright side of having to walk to work
on a sunny July day.
Never seen so many people in the streets walking, happy in the
sun. Maybe there should be a #tubestrike
more often than there is already!
— andieDyer (@dyerAndie) July
Have a walk. Borrow a bike. Stop whinging.
— JTW (@RteeFufkin) July
According to London Underground, the tube network handles up to 4
million journeys each day, with more than 535 trains in operation
across the service at peak times.
Around 20,000 Underground staff are on strike as a result of an
ongoing dispute over pay and rosters for the all-night weekend
tube services planned to start in September.
When key workers go on strike, you realise just how much their
work is worth. Solidarity with the #Tubestrike
— Ewa Jasiewicz (@ewajasiewicz) July
Talks between London Underground and four transport unions,
including RMT and ASLEF, broke down on Tuesday evening after both
sides denounced each other’s negotiating tactics.
“Despite strenuous efforts by union negotiators to press
London Underground to address the issues of fairness, safety,
work/life balance and equality at the heart of this dispute, they
have come up with nothing in the talks,” RMT General
Secretary Mick Cash said.
“The responsibility for this strike and the disruption that
it will cause rests squarely with London Underground
management,” ASLEF District Organizer Finn Brennan said.
“They squandered the window of opportunity to resolve this
dispute by refusing to move their position in the slightest for
three months and then demanding that all four trade unions accept
an offer in one afternoon.
“We will be ready to return to the negotiating table on
Friday morning to ensure that further action can be
avoided,” Finn said.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin described the strike as
unnecessary and said it benefited no one.
“We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with workers, families and
commuters who want to go about their lives without disruption. I
urge the strikers to accept the good offer that employers have
made and get back to work,” McLoughlin said.