File picture: Damir Sagolj/Reuters

Johannesburg - As the ANC elective conference kicks off this weekend and the festive season approaches, Uber has come under fire for “illegally” increasing its prices.

This week, social media was abuzz after a regular Uber user took to Twitter to vent her frustration after using the e-hailing service. The client, with the Twitter handle SammyNorton23, wrote to Uber claiming her boyfriend had been robbed by a driver who decided to use alternative routes, resulting in the fare costing R738.64.

She said: “This is totally unacceptable! My boyfriend took an Uber home as he was too drunk to drive after his company year-end function, and your driver took him on a scenic route of Pretoria! Should have been a R80 trip! Seems your drivers take advantage of intoxicated users!”

Uber said in response the user should be sure to pay what was displayed on the driver’s phone.

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Uber spokesperson Samantha Allenberg said: “It is important to note that fares remain the same regardless if riders are paying with cash or card. Riders will always see the fares upfront before accepting. All riders have to do is enter their pick-up and drop-off locations, and this feature will show them the price for that trip. Upfront fares are calculated using the expected time and distance of the trip, traffic conditions, as well as the availability of driver-partners. This way, riders can always decide what works for them and their budget.

“Riders are encouraged to re- port back on any incidents or concerns via Uber’s in-app help customer support will look into it and it will be corrected,” she added.'

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This sparked reactions from other Twitter users.

@Sihle_M1 said: “I find it unfair that when you have a ‘surge’, the pricing is ridiculous. For a trip that costs R70, I ended up paying R192. That’s daylight robbery!”

Regular Uber user Thabo Mkhabela said that on December 8, the app charged him nearly three times normal.

“I had no choice since I was standing in the rain with a little boy.... in my case 280%.”

The Star