Uber user rages over £180 fare for journey from Edinburgh to Fife

AN Uber passenger was charged almost £200 for a 20-mile journey between the Capital and Fife '“ after the driver lied about a closure at the Queensferry Crossing in order to take a longer route.

Barbara Hume arranged for an Uber on Saturday night to take her home in Inverkeithing from Edinburgh.  A price of £37 was agreed. Picture: Neil Hanna
Barbara Hume arranged for an Uber on Saturday night to take her home in Inverkeithing from Edinburgh. A price of £37 was agreed. Picture: Neil Hanna

Barbara Hume, 31, said she felt “scammed” by the ride hailing app after initially being quoted between £37 and £46 for the 40-minute ride from the Sheraton hotel in the centre of Edinburgh to her home in Inverkeithing after a work night out over the weekend.

However Ms Hume, who works for a Leith-based civil engineering firm, was shocked to find the actual charge for the journey had been ramped up to nearly four times that after discovering the driver’s claim over the closure of the crossing was false.

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Instead, he took a circuitous 69-mile route round Kincardine Bridge lasting almost an hour and a half.

And the ride-sharing firm’s controversial “surge pricing” charges pushed the price up even further, with the final total coming to £178.

Ms Hume said she was “astounded” when checking her bank account the next morning and contacted the company managing the crossing to confirm it had indeed been closed.

However she now says the driver “took advantage” of her after it was confirmed no restrictions were in place.

Ms Hume added: “I had a drink at the party but I was on the phone the whole way home, so I only briefly remember the driver telling me the bridge was closed.

“I didn’t think anything of it at the time, it was only the next day when I looked at my bank balance I thought something wasn’t right, so I double checked with the highways authority and they told me there hadn’t been any closures.”
She continued: “I was just really disappointed. It felt like the driver had taken advantage of me in a way, particularly with the surge fare, it was way out of proportion of what I should have been charged.”

“I think it is unlikely that I will use Uber ever again.”

Ms Hume’s receipt from the night shows the standard price for the extended trip was around £81, however a surge charge of over £97 more than doubled the price of the journey.

The company allows drivers to charge a supplement during busy periods, however users have branded the extra charges “exploitative,” with some charged up to five times the usual price during peak times.

In September, transport bosses in London revoked the firm’s licence due to “public safety and security implications,” while similar decisions were also taken in York and Sheffield, though the company has since been allowed to resume operations in the latter.

It led to calls from taxi drivers in Edinburgh for similar controls to be put in place and “establish some kind of accountability” for concerns over driver regulation.

However, council chiefs told the Evening News there were no plans to review the operating licence for the private hire firm before it expires in March 2019.

A spokesman for Uber said the matter had been resolved with Ms Hume, adding the company had offered her a full refund.

He refused to confirm whether any action would be taken against the driver.