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Lawsuit alleges Uber charging non-existent fee for airport trips
By adamg on Wed, 11/26/2014 - 8:04am
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly reports on a class-action lawsuit filed against the car service over an $8.75 fee, allegedly to reimburse drivers for Massport fees, on all trips to and from the airport.
According to the lawsuit, Massport doesn't add a surcharge to any drop offs and only charges Uber drivers who are also licensed as livery drivers for pickups - and even then, at a lower rate than it charges taxi drivers.
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Sumner and TW tunnel fees..
Apparently they also pass the cost of tolls on the user. This includes charging the full rate on the sumner and tw tunnels, even if the uber driver has a local resident discounted pass (which is $0.40).
Smelling a new lawsuit soon...
Uber drivers are not eleigible for
the resident passes n their vehicles. They have to have a special one that charges the full $5.25 when they go through the tunnel or $4.50 to go over the Tobin. Logan Airport pickups are the only thing Massport charges the $3.25 fee for and only on the outbound, there is no fee to drop off.
As usual, Uber is stealing.
Take a cab sometime
Rt. 16 to Medford? They will still charge you those tolls.
If you are lucky, the credit card reader will work, too.
I took an uber recently
I took an uber recently (Uberx, so a normal non livery plate car) and was charged $8.75 including the taxi toll rate and the drop off rate. When I complained to Uber, they said the drivers should be sending a check to Massport for the extra fees. Unlikely. Thanks for the link, I will be adding to the class action lawsuit. On the subject, its time to get rid of the surcharge for tolls for taxis using the tunnels and a pickup fee should be charged to all (taxis and friends picking people up) or no one.
I was waiting for the other shoe to drop
1) Dvdoff says below that UberX drivers can pick up passengers at Logan. This is false. If UberX drivers are picking up at Logan, this is news to me, and it's not something that I would do. I drop 'em and I leave.
2) When my vehicle enters Logan to drop a passenger, the passenger is charged $8.75. I pay the standard $3.50 to pass back through the Sumner Tunnel and I pocket the remaining $5.25.
3) At absolutely no point in my five months driving UberX have I been informed by Uber in any way that I am to forward that extra $5.25 to Massport. I'm not the least bit shocked by this. Uber is clearly figuring it out as they go along. What do I care? I'm not their employee. The money goes in my pocket, and they don't take anything out of it. I live for Logan runs.
Looks like the party might be over, but okay.
I said UberX drivers pick up at Logan and skirt the Massport fee that Uber Black drivers and I have to pay. And I see UberX and Lyft drivers picking up at Logan all the time.
And apparently you seem to have no issue fleecing your customers for an extra five and a quarter, now do you? You and Uber seem to be made for each other! Until, of course, you have that accident while driving an UberX client.
Good luck with that.
I'm not fleecing anybody
Uber sets the rates, I drive the car.
And I'm driving 20 hours a week tops. I don't need or want to be a full-time driving pro.
Is it in writing?
I don't know, so someone can tell me....
If this fee is clearly stated in advance, even if it was called "Mandatory Extra Fee to line our pockets" then I think it's OK. You can choose to use their service and pay their stated rates and fees or not. No one is forcing you to use uber.
On the other hand, if this fee is not stated in advance, then I agree there is a problem. To me, the fact that uber doesn't have to pay the fee back to Massport is irrelevant as long as they tell you in advance that you have to pay it.
It's listed on the fine print
It's listed on the fine print on the site, among other places, but since fares are calculated after the trip is complete, the surcharge would not be obvious unless someone got a price quote (it looks like they do include the surcharge in the quote--a trip to Logan is quoted $15-25 higher than a trip to East Boston).
No, its not in advance of
No, its not in advance of your trip (its not like a cab where they have the prices and tolls listed on the inside of the car, UberX at least is just regular cars with a smartphone app. The higher toll and logan fee are on the receipt afterwards.
Anyway, I don't understand how you/Uber think its ok for Uber to collect fees (they are collecting them, not driver) and not to pay them directly to the authority they are saying imposes the fee. Its like if stores collected sales taxes and didn't pass them on to the state.
The way it works is this
Uber Black drivers are all like me.They have to have full commercial insurance and workman's comp insurance on their cars. Once those are in place, you then have to get a permit from Massport that goes on the left side of your windshield and you're given a key tag that identifies you at the limo pool.You then have to submit to a background check so that you can receive a Massport ID that you have to wear when on Massport property.
When you arrive at Logan to pick up a passenger, first you have to go the limo pool. You then put your key tag to a reader that reads your company information, sees if you are in good standing with Massport and then you are issued a ticket that allows you to wait for your passenger at the terminal in a designated limo area. When that ticket is printed, your EZ Pass is charged the $3.25 airport fee. Uber does not pay a penny to Massport, the drivers, who are all independent contractors, pay that Massport fee.
So is using Uber Black more equitable then, in terms of competition with the established taxi and livery services?
Uber rates are way, way cheaper than established livery services. An SUV ride from Logan to downtown gets me $162.75. An UberBlack driver in a SUV gets $45.00 minus Uber's 28% cut. So after gas they net about twenty eight bucks.
You can get a fare quote
but it won't break down how much for tolls, fees, etc. You do get a break down on your receipt of what each cost was. So for example,the estimate will say $20-$25, and then the receipt will say $22 total, $8.75 surcharge, $10 for time, etc. My trips have always been within the estimate given so far.
This is on the site itself:
"Trips to or from Logan International Airport on uberX, UberBLACK, or UberSUV are subject to a $8.75 surcharge and any applicable tolls. Surcharge covers Massport fees and other costs related to airport trips. Sample tolls include $5.25 westbound toll for Sumner and Ted Williams Tunnels."
And out of curiosity..
Can anyone tell me if UberX charges this fee? I ask because UberX cars are not permitted by Massport and cannot use the designated limo areas to pick up passengers. They also do not pay the $5.25 livery rate to go through the tunnels.
However this does not atop UberX drivers from picking up at the regular passenger pick up area, screwing Massport out of the $3.25 and spitting in the face of legitimate operators who have to jump through hoops to get permitted to pick up at Logan. Just another in the growing list of scummy moves Uber pulls daily.
The end users love Uber though!
My enemy's enemy is my friend?
Yup, Uber is scummy. And yet, on the plus side, they're attacking the medallion racket, which is a good thing. Too bad there isn't a good guy operator who is also attacking the medallion racket as effectively as Uber is; People like me would flock to the good guy operator instead.
Meanwhile... when you go to war, you don't always get to pick your allies. Winston Churchill even got into bed with Stalin, after all, and if Churchill could tolerate Stalin, we can tolerate Uber....
That is if you have no problem
with a company that is now trying to swindle 50k veterans to joining the Uber ranks with a payola award from the IAVA to Uber's scumbag owner at their banquet last week. Just what you want after two or three tours. Come home, invest what little credit you have left in a vehicle so that you spend twelve or more hours behind the wheel in traffic in an urban setting while you constantly worry about how you're going to make ends meet while slaving for a company that raises it's commissions without raising rates and has stated publicly that as soon as driver less cars are available, you'll be replaced.
Or the guy who said recently that they have no problem spending money to harass journalists who are unfriendly to Uber. Or the victim shaming that their CEO has exhibited when addressing complaints of sexual harassment by Uber drivers. And understand this, Uber is no better than the scummy medallion owners in that they take serious advantage of the lack of employment opportunities in this country to screw their drivers while making themselves richer for basically doing nothing.
The end users love it, though!!!
Yeah, jobs for veterans, what
Yeah, jobs for veterans, what a shame. Does being deployed ruin your credit now? Few times when I was at sea I didn't have shit to spend money on so it worked out pretty well.
Yes, UberX drivers pay Massport for pick-ups
I have tried UberX from the airport a couple of times. The most recent time I had a nice discussion with the driver about how it works. They do go into the limo pool, and the police will catch them if they try to skirt the law (you can see the police vehicle waiting there just for that purpose). Both times I used UberX pick-up from Logan, I was sent a vehicle with livery plates. Yes, it was UberX, not a black car, nor a limo. The driver explained to me that he has to go wait in the pool, then when he gets a call he has to do the check-out process and pay $3.25.
So no, Logan is not getting screwed out of $3.25, and they are very much on top of it.
The $8.75 fee is charged in either direction. I assumed it has something to do with tolls. If not well, I'll look forward to my piece of the settlement. But to be frank, I have taken taxicabs from the airport as well, and the UberX rides are usually significantly cheaper even with the $8.75 fee added. I conducted a small experiment during one business trip (when I was being reimbursed regardless) so I took UberX to the airport and a taxicab back: $28 vs $43. So I don't feel ripped off at all by Uber in this case.
Uber may have its problems, and I have been keeping tabs, but we KNOW that the taxi business in this town is a huge scam run by horrible people who can all go to hell. I think that with a few changes a business similar to Uber is ultimately the way to go in the future. I would like to see higher reimbursement rates for drivers: the company shouldn't take any more than 5% for being a glorified middleman, and they will still roll in the dough anyway. I would also like to see the insurance situation rectified so that there is no uncertainty in the matter. And I would like to see more competition in the market: one thing I fear is that Uber is trying to become a monopoly, and then they'll be just as bad as the taxi medallion owners.
If you have livery plates, you can apply for a Massport permit. Then you can go to the limo pool all day, the EZ Pass charges the $3.25. And if you have livery plates and you have a pool ticket then you can park in any of the designated limo areas at any terminal
What I see is UberX and Lyft drivers without livery plates picking up at the designated passenger pickup areas,thereby skipping the pool altogether and screwing Massport out of their $3.25. And believe me, Uber is a lot worse than those medallion owners. At least they were up front about screwing their drivers and they didn't have a cadre of Scientologists working for them the way Uber does.
And what I see is UberX
And what I see is UberX drivers WITH Livery plates going into the Massport pool and paying the $3.25
Read what I wrote, again.
Who knows, maybe some drivers are not doing that. But I have yet to see it.
Where is the lawsuit link? As
Where is the lawsuit link? As an eastie resident not going to the airport I keep getting this fee as well which is making a quick trip through the tunnel to fort point $17. The breakdown is more rolls and fees than fare!
Where did all the staunch
Where did all the staunch Uber defenders on here go? I remember getting lambasted as a shill for the taxi industry when I pointed out before that Uber provides a valuable service but has questionable practices.
My limited experience
I've used Uber for town car service and was happy with the results vs. Boston Car. I've never used UberX as that sounds much dodgier if anything were to go wrong, in terms of insurance, etc... I've used them maybe 1 or 2 times a year though so my sample size is small.
Generally, Uber seems to have a market which is not easily defended. At some point, an alternate service should be able to simply compete with them by not being dicks about everything and being more transparent. I don't believe Uber has amazing technology which can't be duplicated.
Insurance is the big issue
Easy fix for that: Tort reform.