How about Uber sends an actual message to its users in the area, and its drivers, rather than a cryptic price surge? I don’t see “the beauty of prices” in this instance (or any other really), it seems a little deceptive. A message that explains the situation and asks people to forego rides if they’re not 100% necessary so that those in danger can be given priority. By all means charge extra for the ride (danger-money if you will), just don’t dress it up as a pricing success of the free market. Be honest and open as a service, and allow the user to be selfish if they choose — don’t set the service up as inherently selfish and then expect the user to do the correct thing. It’s an important nuance that the article seems to have missed.
To add, I’m not an Uber user as it doesn’t exist in my city, so I’m perhaps doing them a disservice here as I’m only going on the details provided in the article. I’m certainly not against Uber as an app, a service, or as an important provider in these situations.