Thousands of Melbourne Cup punters were stranded at Flemington Racecourse and traffic in the area was heavily congested after ride-sharing app Uber crashed because of a technical glitch.
The Victoria Racing Club was broadcasting a message in Birdcage tents just after 5pm, as the last race was run, that the Uber app was not working.
A glitch caused the Uber app to crash, stranding racegoers. Credit: Chris Hopkins
"Due to a technical fault, the Uber app is not operating this afternoon," the sign read. "Please seek alternative transport from the venue."
Uber and other ride-sharing services have a designated pick-up and drop-off zone at the racecourse, but the app was unable to link drivers with riders and Uber zones were closed while the company tried to fix the problem.
The Victoria Racing Club advised racegoers to use public transport.
Ride-sharing app Didi exploited Uber's misfortune, offering people 50 per cent off on Tuesday night and sent a tongue-in-cheek message: "Stranded at the races? Get a reliable ride home."
Earlier in the day, the cost of an Uber also surged, with radio station 3AW reporting that trips between Southern Cross and Flemington were costing $30 - twice the typical price.
An Uber spokeswoman said the company "rigorously test all our special event technology, but, unfortunately, on this occasion technical issues have meant that we are currently unable to connect all drivers and riders at the dedicated Uber zones within the Flemington racecourse".
"For that reason we have made the decision to close these zones while we work on a solution," she said.
"We appreciate this has been frustrating for many of our valued riders and driver-partners, and we apologise for the inconvenience this has caused."
More than 81,000 people attended the Melbourne Cup.
Sumeyya is a reporter for The Age.
Simone is a breaking news reporter for The Age. Most recently she covered breaking news for The Australian in Melbourne.
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