Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath led several tech companies to lend a helping hand in one way or another.Shelter
Just yesterday, Airbnb decided to waive all of its fees for both hosts and guests in areas affected by Sandy through November 7. It normally collects a service fee from guests and a payment-handling fee from hosts.
It’s also encouraging hosts to open up their homes and lower prices in order to provide shelter to those who need it.
Currently, there are more than 20,000 listings within Sandy-affected areas, according to an Airbnb blog post.
For large families or those who might need a bit more space, vacation rental service HomeAway has organised a directory to help displaced residents find fully-furnished homes for both short- and long-term stays.
On-demand car service Uber swallowed a huge, $100,000 expense on Wednesday when the company decided to pay drivers twice the normal rate to persuade them to take to the streets, but charge customers the normal rate. It didn’t want to appear to be gouging customers the day after the storm hit.
It has since returned to its standard “surge” pricing for passengers, where fares vary based on demand, but is waiving the fees it would normally take out of payments, so those higher fares are going directly to drivers.
Wireless and Internet Connectivity
Since cell service has been shoddy in some areas, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless have also stepped up to the plate to help people stay connected.
AT&T and T-Mobile made a temporary agreement to let customers roam on either network in areas where there’s poor cell coverage. (The two companies happen to run on compatible wireless technology.)
Verizon recently set up Wireless Emergency Communications centres in New York and New Jersey to provide victims with charging stations and cell phones for making free calls to contact friends and family.
AT&T is also reportedly bringing in trucks with satellite connectivity to offer Wi-Fi and cell service in New York City. The trucks will also come loaded with charging stations.
Google was quick to make an interactive, information rich map of the Hurricane Sandy crisis. It projected the storm’s path, rain levels, and traffic conditions. It also marked the closest hospitals and shelters.
Let us know in the comments if there are any companies we missed.