Startup darling Uber gained a strong following among the tech elite with the simplicity of its e-hailing app, but there's been strong anti-Uber sentiment steadily brewing over its surge-price policy, which is determined by an opaque algorithm. CEO Travis Kalanick has, for the most part, claimed that surge pricing was out of his hands--that it was a matter of supply and demand--but he attempted to appease this backlash by announcing Thursday the company was lowering prices for UberX rides in 16 cities.
The price cut, which ranges from 15% to 34% in some cities, will go into effect beginning Thursday. Unlike Uber's black-car service, UberX uses everyday drivers and their personal cars. Yet this change likely won't affect Uber's surge pricing, which has increased prices as much as sevenfold.
After making a passive-aggressive swipe for taking "heat for being so reliable," Kalanick wrote in a blog post: "For the last two years, we have worked our asses off to introduce low-priced alternatives to cities worldwide."
He says the changes will take effect in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange County, Seattle, Chicago, and Phoenix, and prices will also be lowered in 10 other cities: Minneapolis, Atlanta, Sacramento, Tucson, Indianapolis, Denver, Dallas, Baltimore, Charlotte, and Nashville.
[Image: Flickr user emilio labrador]