I’m giving Uber Mumbai a miss at Mumbai Airport

Here is why… Like I mentioned a few days back, Uber has started to charge a new amount towards payment for the airport’s charges imposed on their drivers to pick up passengers. Fair deal I say, maybe even Ola did the same. Here is the announcement I found out at Mumbai Airport this past Sunday night.

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In Uber’s cashless model, the driver pays for everything and Uber applies the charges on your account. Except it does not work in practice at the airport it seems.

Here is what happened this past weekend. I was on a quick weekend trip to visit my family in Delhi, and arrived back at Mumbai’s Terminal 1 at a half past midnight. By the time I picked up a checked bag, it was almost 1 AM in the morning. Unfazed by the charge, I figured it may still be cheaper to use Uber than go for a prepaid cab at the airport, as the night charges would have kicked in on the black & yellow cab system.

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A car closeby picked up the ride, and arrived around the airport, but he waited outside the airport complex. I thought the app was not refreshing so I closed it and re-opened the app, to still find him in the same place. I called the driver, who told me that he won’t come inside. I informed him that the pickup point was the airport, not outside the airport. On this, he tells me how I would have to pay the INR 110 in cash to the airport operator to be able to have him pick me at the airport. To which I had to inform him that the process is that he will pay the fees and will get reimbursed by Uber for it.

No dice. He asked me to cancel the ride, or agree to his terms. Else he would put on the ride and go about town. Meh! What a waste of time in the middle of the night. Of course, he did not see through his threat, and continued to wait for a long while.

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When I reached home on another cab, I noticed he was still at the airport and had not cancelled the ride. So I cancelled it then and relieved him and myself of the agony. On chatting with some other friends, I heard a similar agony that Uber drivers had been giving them for the past few days at Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.

Moral of the story, this new charge is going to be a pain in the backside for a while. So till Uber straightens this up, I’ll give Uber a pass when I am driving away from the airport for a ride home or to the office.

Have you guys had similar experience with Uber in Mumbai lately, or is it just me?

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About Ajay Awtaney

Ajay is a financial services pro, working to bring order to the chaos of the financial industry on an everyday basis! Beyond that, he dons the hat of India's favourite frequent traveller, trying to help people elevate their travel experience via tips and tricks they never knew before, or introduce them to the world of miles and points. Armed with an MBA from MDI Gurgaon and graduate degree in computer science from the University of Delhi, Ajay brings a systematic and objective approach on the table for his audience in dissecting travel and loyalty programs in India and around the world, and how to benefit from them. Ajay has been quoted in various reputed traditional and online media including The Hindustan Times, Inside Flyer, Bloomberg, DNA India, Conde Nast Traveller, The Telegraph, Mumbai Mirror, Mint, MoneyLife and The USA Today.

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Comments

  1. The people in Bangalore who are travelling towards Bangalore International Airport from Bangalore city now need to monitor their invoices if they are travelling with Uber Cabs. It has been observed from long time, but earlier the customer care people were responding kindly and were resolving the issue but now as they have been continuing the process of asking invalid money and luckily they got a majority of pasengers who don’t ever bother about the issue, the Uber people have now become much confident and ready to reply the customer rudely in order to continue their illogical process.
    People who are travelling towards Kempegowda International Airport from Bangalore city need to check the invoice generated, the Uber people are asking for Toll Charges. Now, it is known to all that if we are travelling towards Airport, we don’t need to pay Airport Toll Charges but every time passengers are paying Rs. 120/- under the head Toll Charges.
    On the other hand when we travel towards city from Bangalore Airport, Toll charges are being very much asked by authorities and paying that time is logical and valid but why these people are asking for the same charges even though it is not been paid. Issues were raised to the Customer Care which were replied with illogical reasons and then the tickets were closed somewhat rudely without customer satisfaction.
    Following are some replies from Customer Care Team:
    1. However, as mentioned earlier, the toll applied on your trip is valid and in this case, I won’t be able to refund the amount to you. Rest assured, all tolls that apply to your fare are added by the system itself and the scope of error is almost negligible. That being said, I’ve manually verified the application of this toll and have confirmed its validity. We do not have any further information to share with you in this regard.
    2. Anytime your driver goes through a toll or travels into an area with a surcharge, that amount will be added to the fare. These tolls, fees, and surcharges can apply in different situations, but are most common around bridge and tunnel crossings, highways, and airport .
    Here every passenger needs to check and take a call against this invalid charging, in other sense, these people are asking the money to pay it to Toll authorities or to Government indirectly but at the same time they not needed to pay the government, hence this is being a serious issue needs to be present in front of authorities. Further, paying Toll charges while coming towards city from International Airport in very much correct as the money is being paid to the authorities.

  2. As per my experience, the drivers usually come inside the airport but wait just outside the pick-up point entrance. Given that its less than a minute walk, I wouldn’t fret about it.

      • Exactly. When we are paying that amount, and with that luggage with us, I would want the cab to come to the pick up point rather than I walking with my luggage to him

  3. Hmmm…. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think its for the yellow-plated cars unless they shoot 10 minutes… If so, there should be a long line to pay the charge…

    But let me check tomorrow morning when I land…

    • @RK Please read the board, all commercial vehicles not coming from the parking are charged 110 INR for upto 10 minutes. There is no queue since there is no picket. You pay when you enter, not when you exit.

      • I checked and while the board does state the charge, Ajay, there’s no clarity as many yellow-plate cars were going through. I’m not sure but I wonder if somehow they figure out Ola or Uber cars and selectively charge them only. TabCab and Meru are certianly not charged (I guess may because they collect Rs.80 inside the terminal for the booking). I suspect there’s more to it than meets the eye.

        By the way, the only airport I’ve seen globally (that I’ve visited) that has this kind of charge.

        I think this charge needs to be challenged.

  4. Same experience with Ola but I refused to pay the guy at the airport “Pickup” exit and also told the Ola driver not to pay. Finally, after I stubbornly but politely – no shouting or screaming – sat in the car for 2 minutes, the perplexed attendant let me go. The legality of collecting this fee should be questioned especially if the car is not inside for more than 10 minutes. It’s the traditional cab companies Meru, CabTab etc. who may have coerced the parking guys to collect the charge. Commercially operated cars (yellow-license boards) are allowed in and are not charged then why should Uber and Ola be?

  5. Faced a similar issue at Blr Airport. I booked an Uber from BIAL for my relatives using my account. The driver took Rs 120 for toll at the booth. Since it was pointless to argue at the last minute, my uncle paid it. When I learnt about it, my first reaction was perhaps BIAL has also gone the Mumbai way. Could’nt find anything online, so assumed that the driver was confused since Uber started accepting cash from that day only. Anyhows wrote a mail to Uber who promptly refunded the entire charge of the trip. Infact I wrote back twice that i only wanted the toll to be refunded and not the entire bill but somehow the CS rep didnt understand . i simply gave up

  6. Very irresponsible to publish drivers’ name, pic and vehicle identification on public blog. If you have complaint take up with uber with all details but no public naming please!

  7. I had a similar experience a few backs, even before the charge was levied… The Uber guy refused to do airport pick up.. I tried Ola and the guy came in time..

  8. I faced the same issue on Monday evening while trying to book an Uber (as a loyalist) on Monday evening at Domestic Mumbai Airport Terminal at Santacruz. So went by TAB cab from the inside counter, and to my sheer I was impressed by their service. And they still take Rs.80/- for their Airport service.

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