Several start-up’s and tech companies located in devastated New York have altered their pricing and services to assist those in need. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy Air bnb, Uber and several co-working spaces are a few examples of how those in the tech community have helped those affected by the storm.
Uber a start-up app used to summon a black ,private service car in New York City experienced what was described as a ‘PR Nightmare’. Due to most subways being shut down and out of action, their service was in extreme demand. To encourage drivers to weather the storm and damage to pick up customers, they paid all drivers two times their normal daily rate. As a result they introduced a program called ‘surge pricing’ where customers were to pay twice the rate, making for an expensive ride. However due to complaints of ‘price gouging’ Uber was publicly forced to lower the price to normal rates. This cost the company more than $100,00 a day. Uber was forced to return to surge pricing as they could not afford to run at a $100,000 a day loss. However they will no longer charge the fee and all takings will go directly to the drivers until things return to normal.
Air bnb, now a world leader in travel rentals has abolished all fees on the 20,000 air listings available in the effected areas. The company created a discounted Sandy Listings Wish List that showcases the hosts in affected regions. Listers are able to reduce costs for the period of the 31st of October to the 7th of November in New York City, the Hamptons, Providence, New Haven and Atlantic City. The service has enabled a button that allows hosts in affected areas to automatically lower their prices by fifty percent. Once lister has even offered her five guest rooms for free.
Several co-working spaces have enabled Sandy’s refugees to find a room and provide them with internet and office space. According to Gigaom
Charlie O’Donnell, founder of Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, kicked off the effort Tuesday, calling on local work spaces and startups to share info about open desks under the #sandycoworking hashtag.
Creative Labs responded with a reduction in its daily rate from $35 to $20. Bat Haus, Dumbo Startup Labs and Secret Clubhouse, all Brooklyn co-working spaces, have also taken on tech refugees.