NSW Govt Strikes Deal With Uber To Cap Surge Pricing When Syd’s Public Transport Carks It

Commuters mill about at Central Station after trains ground to a halt

The NSW Government and Uber have joined forces to limit surge pricing when Sydney’s public transport system shits the bed.

It’s absolutely stunning news for all the Sydneysiders forced to live in a city with a public transport system which is more sensitive than my stomach when I eat walnuts. And I am HIGHLY allergic to walnuts.

Per the Guardian, Uber is now part of NSW Transport’s incident response process. This means if a disruption pops up out of the blue, Uber will monitor surge pricing if demand goes haywire in a small geographic area.

This was actually implemented last week when a fire broke out in an abandoned building next to Central Station, leading to public transport disruptions.

NSW Transport Minister Jo Haylen said the need to reign surge pricing in became v. clear after the Sydney train network crapped its dacks at peak-hour back in March. It wasn’t merely a small, contained poo but a diarrhoea situation, which meant trains were rendered immobile for literal hours. We’ve all been there!

The drama meant tens of thousands of commuters were stranded, thus Uber fares went bananas. Some folks reported copping hundreds of dollars in surge fees (boo!) but Uber later confirmed it would issue partial refunds to folks who paid through the roof (yay!).

Haylen said there still had to be a bit of surge pricing because that’s just how the cookie crumbles.

“Some surge pricing will occur to incentivise drivers who decide to operate in the affected areas,” she told reporters on Thursday.

“However, it will be limited so passengers don’t end up copping exorbitant fares. Passengers deserve transparency around the reasons behind the surge and passengers deserve real choices about the way they travel.”

In terms of price caps, Haylen said surge fees might be limited to about twice the regular fare. It could still cost you a pretty penny to get home if the T2 Line simply decided to go fuck itself, but not the prettiest of pennies which cost hundreds of dollars.

It’s all gorgeous news but as someone who has lived in Perth since day dot, I simply will never understand why Sydney’s public transport system is so bad at transporting the public.

What my fair city lacks in activities which don’t revolve around the beach, we gain in a public transport network that does what it says on the label. Sure, a train might run a few minutes late, but it’ll still pick you up and drop you off like it promised, even if it’s pissing down with rain. Happy days, done deal and so on and so forth.

Image credit: Getty Images / Roni Bintang