Andrew Peters, an Uber passenger who got stuck in the snowstorm that shut down the I-95 near Richmond, Virginia, received a shocking bill from the ride-hailing service after his ordeal had ended.
Peters landed at Dulles International Airport near Washington, DC, earlier this week on his way back from San Francisco. He hailed a ride to get him home to Richmond Virginia and things went wrong almost immediately.
“We hopped on the first exit and then it was just, we stopped moving right there. There were cars behind us. There was nowhere to go,” Peters told NBC. “It was like being in some weird parking lot.”
He and his driver became some of the thousands of motorists stuck on the highway for as many as 30 hours following more than a foot of snowfall in the area. The snow caught numerous people, including Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, who said on Twitter that he spend 27 hours on his trip from Richmond to Washington, D.C.
Peters and his Uber driver ended up spending 14 hours in the car, on a trip that cost $200. Out of deference to the driver, Peters tipped them another $100. He was surprised, though, when he later received a surcharge of $400, bringing the total paid to a little more than $700, with the tip.
Peters said he was “ticked off” by the surcharge because he had no control over the route the driver chose.
“I had no way of knowing that I would be stuck in this traffic jam for that long, and I don’t feel like that’s fair because they have the directions. I have no say in which way the Uber goes,” Peters said.
Per Uber’s website, in heavy traffic, it may change a passenger’s fare “to compensate your driver for the additional time.” Fortunately, the company appears to have understood the circumstances and, after disputing the charge, Peters was refunded.
“We recognized that the prolonged highway shutdown was extraordinary circumstance for him and the driver,” a spokesperson told NBC.