Commuters outraged by rideshare surge pricing amid Red Line derailment

Commuters outraged by rideshare surge pricing amid Red Line derailment

BOSTON — MassDOT crews have uprighted the Red Line train that derailed Tuesday morning, causing severe delays that lingered into the evening commute.

The morning nightmare highlighted not just the issues with the MBTA, but the controversial practice of rideshare surge pricing.

"I feel like you’re just trying to take advantage of people trying to get to work," said commuter Jake Lemanski.

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Dozens of commuters turned to rideshare services as they tried to get to their destinations on a rainy morning.

"Immediately after I got out in line I looked at Uber it was probably $80 what would’ve been a 20-minute drive," said Grant Callanan.

Those trying to avoid what turned into an hours-long waiting game say even a shared ride on Uber or Lyft for a ride just a few miles cost more than $60 when they checked.

"It’s either pay the $80 or take this. I was like I can’t do that it’s going to cost me too much money," said George Hines.

The trend of rideshare services raising prices in emergency situations has come under heavy criticism in the past.

An Uber spokesperson told Boston 25 News it turned off surge pricing in the immediate area as soon as it heard about the train derailment.

In a statement, Lyft said:

"Following this morning’s train derailment, there were more people requesting rides than there were drivers available to provide them. This caused areas around the derailment to experience PrimeTime pricing, an automatic response that serves to incentivize drivers to head to busy areas."

One commuter we spoke with said Lyft XL surged as high as $200 for a trip of less than five miles.


Tuesday's is the second derailment on the MBTA this week. On Sunday, a Green Line train derailed, injuring nine people - where investigators believe the driver is to blame.

Not too long ago, a different derailment on the Red Line also frustrated morning commuters. On May 21, a derailed train at the Ashmont MBTA stop affected Red Line service between Ashmont and JFK/UMass.

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