Uber, currently on the defensive in many cities around the world, is extending an olive branch to riders, if not local authorities. After facing criticism for surge pricing–in some riders’ eyes, price gouging–that has led to fares nearly ten times the base rate on nights like New Year’s Eve, the on-demand taxi service said yesterday that it would be reducing prices in 48 U.S. cities, starting today.
In Chicago, where Uber instituted the price cut in December, average fares dropped from $14.25 to $11.00, according to a company blog post.
The announcement comes amid brewing policy troubles for Uber. After France, India, and Spain forced it to shut down local operations, yesterday China tightened its grip on unauthorized taxis, effectively limiting Uber to its corporate car service.
Fast Company reported yesterday that Uber is now hiring an additional 60 policy and communications staffers in an urgent effort to stabilize its government relationships. In New York, the company has reached a temporary truce with the Taxi & Limousine Commission while it appeals a ruling requiring it to turn over trip data for five of its dispatch bases; the commission had suspended those bases, but it typically lifts suspensions while appeals are in progress.