Uber accused of profiteering from Sydney hostage crisis

One business accused of profiteering from the hostage crisis in Sydney was web-based taxi firm Uber, which is no stranger to controversy around the world. 

Initially, Uber was said to have begun charging passengers four times regular fares with a minimum charge of A$100 (S$108) to leave Sydney’s central business district. 

“What a shameful disgrace,” wrote Twitter user Tyson Armstrong.

The company later issued a statement saying it “will be providing free rides out of the CBD to help Sydneysiders get home safely” and that it was “in the process of refunding rides”.

Meanwhile, the motives behind Monday’s siege are still not known.

“All the shops around us are closed for safety,” said Ms Marian Chung, general manager of a tourist outlet selling stuffed kangaroos and koalas and which is a stopping point for organised tours.

Performances cancelled

“But we can’t close as some of our customers are from overseas and they have bookings here.”

At the nearby Sydney Opera House, where police swept the area earlier Monday, evening performances were cancelled.

In the days and weeks before Christmas, Sydney’s shopping district usually takes on an extra vigour as people buy presents for the festive season.

The cafe Martin Place, with its huge Christmas tree, is a magnet for families.

But Ms Chung said she had lost about 30 per cent of her usual revenue at her store, Kogaroo: Gift from Australia, on Monday because of the road and store closures as the city went into lockdown.

Source: AFP

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