SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – San Francisco-based Uber was hit with a new round of criticism overnight after users reported a spike in fares around a hostage situation in downtown Sydney, Australia.

Mashable and other media outlets reported what’s known as “surge pricing” jumping to four times the regular fare after a man claiming Isis affiliation took over a downtown coffee shop Monday.

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Twitter was soon flooded with online criticism of the fee hike. Company officials say the fee increases are automated, and indicated that they took action to limit the cost and even provide free rides after the severity of the situation became evident.

This is just the latest public relations black eye for the company. Last week the ride service company took heat for an increase in fares during a powerful Bay Area storm, and was slapped with a lawsuit by the district attorneys of Los Angeles and San Francisco for allegedly misleading customers.

It has been a particularly trying year for Uber senior vice president Emil Michael, who faced backlash after reports surfaced that he wanted to dig up information on critical journalists. He now says he’s locked in a battle with his landlord, who allegedly wants him out of his San Francisco apartment.

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