Uber global citizen

Credit: Uber

Global Citizen: Uber vow to refund passengers hit by unplanned surcharge

Uber have found themselves at the centre of controversy following the ugly scenes at the end of the Global Citizen concert. This is their way of apologising…

Uber global citizen

Credit: Uber

The Global Citizen Festival ended on the sourest of all notes on Sunday, as dozens of concert-goers were targeted by groups of thieves and thugs outside of the FNB Stadium. E-hailing app Uber also came under fire, after being accused of “lying” about a surcharge rate.

Once Beyonce and Jay-Z had closed the show in Johannesburg, thousands of fans poured onto the streets and made their way home. A nearby Sasol garage became a hub for those looking to arrange transport, but it ended up attracting the low-life opportunists, too.

Crime at Global Citizen Festival

Multiple reports of stabbings, robberies and a case of attempted rape were shared on social media. SAPS have been blamed for failing to provide an adequate police presence outside the venue, but Minister Bheki Cele emphatically denied this was a law enforcement blunder:

“There is no need to blame South African police that there was no Uber, there was no transport and all that — that should be asked from the organisers.”

Bheki Cele

Uber explain sudden price hikes

Following his swipe at Uber, we got in touch with the company to get their side of the story. Some of the app’s users reported that drivers were charging up to four times the normal rate to pick people up from the FNB Stadium. This, despite Global Citizen clearly confirming there’d be no “dynamic pricing” implemented.

With people panicking and a number of drivers cancelling arranged pick-ups, Uber have apologised for their role in the chaos. A spokesperson told us why the standard fares were hiked, but also promised they would offer full refunds to those affected by the miscommunication:

“We are aware that some riders were charged more than usual for rides taken from the Global Citizen concert last night, and we apologise for this. Due to a variety of complexities, such as network coverage issues and mismanaged event traffic flow at the venue (both of which were out of our control), last night we switched on dynamic pricing.”

“We understand that we went back on our promise to apply standard rates for this event, which is why we will be refunding, in full, all riders who were affected by this. This will not affect the drivers who will retain their full earnings for all trips they completed.”

Uber spokesperson

Uber promise refunds for customers

Surcharges – or the alternative term, “dynamic pricing” – sees Uber increase the usual standard fare they’d charge for each trip. The company do this to encourage more drivers to drive to the busy area, so each person requesting a cab can be attended to.

Uber will now begin the process of refunding those affected by the additional charges on Sunday. You can access support via the app, or visit their Twitter acocunt@Uber_RSA – to find out more information.