Skip to main content

Woman hit with $411 bill for 10-mile Uber ride, as 'surge pricing' complaints increase


A Minneapolis woman fell victim to Uber's notorious "surge" pricing as she was charged more than $400 for a 10.8 mile ride home.

Mollie Hughes told FOX 9 she took a ride with the app-based transportation company from downtown Minneapolis last month back to her home in Uptown, via St. Louis Park where the driver dropped her friend off.

She had failed to hail a cab or find a cheaper Uber, and so selected a nearby Uber SUV that was operating under surge pricing – a practice that allows drivers to charge passengers more at times of high demand.

When she got the bill, the $65.30 charge was multiplied by 6.3, giving her a grand total of just over $411.

This embed is invalid

"I was in a panic to be honest. ... It's just absurd," she told FOX9.

"I agreed to this and knew what I was doing. I just think you can't expect people to justifiably pay $400 for a 20 minute ride home," she added.

The surge price trap

Hughes joins the growing number of passengers to have fallen foul of the international car-sharing service's pricing structure, which came to a head particularly on the night of Halloween as passengers across the country got stung with high charges.

The New York Daily News reports a man was charged $539 for a 20-mile ride home on Halloween night in Denver, while the Business Insider reports a woman from Baltimore used crowdsourcing to raise the $362 she needed to pay the bill for an Uber ride the same night.

Durham resident Gagandeep Bindra was charged $455.03 for a 15-mile trip Halloween night, the Business Journal reported last month. He said Uber's surge pricing isn't transparent, and the customers has no idea if they'll get a huge bill.

But Uber defended the policy, the Business Journal reported, with a spokesperson saying it tells users on the app if a multiplier is in effect.

Before booking, the app will tell people what surge price they can expect at times of high demand, according to the Uber website, and app settings can be changed to tell people when surge prices have dropped.

Surge pricing was a major bone of contention during the debate over how ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft should be regulated in Minneapolis.

A city ordinance legitimizing Uber and Lyft was signed in July, City Pages reports, with the ordinance also loosening restrictions on traditional cab companies to allow them to compete more effectively with car-sharing firms.

The Star Tribune reports Uber and Lyft are allowed to charge more because the ordinance recognizes them as "transportation network companies" rather than taxicab companies, whose meter rates are limited by the city.

Uber and Lyft supporters had argued they should be treated differently from taxi firms, because their drivers work part-time, are booked via mobile apps and offer "superior service because of driver and customer ratings."

Next Up

Karl-Anthony Towns

KAT sets a franchise record, leaves early in loss to Wizards

Towns fell on his back in the final minutes of a loss in Washington.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Man shot by police in Forest Lake dies from injuries

It was one of two police shootings in the Twin Cities on the same day, both of which proved fatal.

Dylan Bundy

Report: Twins agree to deal with Dylan Bundy

The Twins signed the right-hander with a lockout imminent.

Flickr - face masks covid pole - Ivan Radic

'Everyone should really be masking up' in public, Malcolm says

The health commissioner said residents have gotten "a little bit lax" with some protective measures.

Byron Buxton

Byron Buxton believes he's the best player in baseball

"Nobody [does] the things that I do. I know that."

unsplash medical marijuana

Edibles coming to Minnesota's medical marijuana program

MDH also announced it will not add anxiety as qualifying condition.

plow, snowplow, snow

Plowable snow possible this weekend in Minnesota

Up to half a foot of snow could fall within the heaviest band.

Best Buy - jjbers, Flickr

Police reveal new details about 'coordinated' Best Buy thefts

A large group stole thousands of dollars in merchandise from three Twin Cities Best Buy stores.

Seven Points exterior - 2

New tenant revealed for former Libertine spot in Uptown

The space will combine playful art offerings with a restaurant.

white Christmas

What are Minnesota's chances of a white Christmas this year?

The Twin Cities averages a white Christmas about 3 out of every 4 years.

ilhan omar press conference voicemail screengrab 11.30.21

'You will not live much longer b***': Rep. Omar shares threatening voicemail

Omar's office received the call hours after Rep. Boebert posted her video about the MN congresswoman.

Screen Shot 2021-12-01 at 11.24.09 AM

ESPN's 'Booger' makes fun of Wild fans' record cup snake

He's the same guy who thought the "Minneapolis Miracle" was bad for the Vikings.