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PLAN B, BUT NO CHANGE: Demand still high as Uber users vent frustration over price and cancellations

It was another busy couple of nights of cancellations, high prices and frustrating coverage for customers of Uber looking to get home safely since new COVID-19 restrictions were announced.

Demand for licensed taxis and on-demand private hire services like Uber, has peaked since workers returned to office space and children started the new school term back in September.

However, there were concerns that new ‘Plan B’ restrictions brought in by the Government might immediately reduce the demand for taxis and minicabs in the capital to lower levels again.

Private hire firm like Uber, Addison Lee and Bolt have been trying to recruit thousands of new drivers on to their platform since as early as Spring 2021. Many drivers were thought to have left the industry over the pandemic when demand was low and have not returned.

Users contacted Uber after another frustrating couple of days. Steven wrote on social media: “Honestly, Uber is awful. It's hard to this is even close to the future of transport. It is incredibly unreliable and ridiculously priced.”

Another Uber user, Henny Bernstein, approached private hire drivers filling up at the petrol station in a bid to find a ride home. The user said via social media: “What is the point of your service? We were stranded yesterday in Central London at 2am trying to get home and no Ubers would except our journey.

“We even spoke to some at a petrol station and they said no because they didn't want to leave Central. Happened to our friends too.”

Ian Crompton complained about the price more than doubling in the space of a minute. He said: “1 minute earlier this same journey was less than £9. As I tried to book it, the page timed out. When I refreshed the page, this was the price. 4.2 miles in total.

“Sort your s**t out. Absolutely disgraceful behaviour. How it's allowed is beyond me.”

Uber did respond to Ian: “Hi Ian, we understand your concern. Dynamic pricing helps ensure that riders can always receive a quick and convenient pickup.

“When demand goes down, upfront price returns to normal. It also encourages more drivers to get on the road and head to areas of the city where demand for rides is higher than driver's ability to accommodate all the ride requests happening at any moment.”

Beth Brand complained of drivers cancelling. She said: “Spent about an hour trying to get an Uber home last night - driver cancellation after cancellation.

“Got a black cab in the end. What happened to the days when Uber was quick and reliable.”

Rashad Braimah said: “Why is it almost impossible to get an Uber in London at night now. It’s actually ridiculous. Long waits for cars that always cancel.”


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