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From the Forum – Lyft billing error from DCA?

by Prince Of Petworth November 18, 2015 at 2:10 pm 25 Comments

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Lyft billing error from DCA?

“I recently took my first Lyft ride from DCA to Columbia Heights. When I received my receipt, I noticed that it included a $4 airport pick up fee as well as a $4 airport drop off fee. Assuming this was some kind of error, I emailed Lyft for an explanation of the $8 charge. Here is their response:

“Thanks for writing in. I’m happy to explain how tolls work when riding with Lyft.

Lyft features an automated toll system. Anytime you pass through a toll while in a Lyft ride, the cost is automatically factored in to your ride price. You’ll see the toll listed as a line item in your ride summary, and that amount goes directly towards reimbursing your driver. You mentioned two airport toll charges. Please note that one was when your driver picked you up, and one was during your exit from the airport.

This automated toll system is live for bridges, turnpikes, and tunnels in all Lyft cities. Any additional amount for a toll amount is included in the payment flow. We are not able to remove the cost of the toll from your ride price, and cannot issue a refund if you paid an amount for a toll outside of the app. Lyft’s cashless payment system makes sure your ride is safe and fun, and allows both you and your driver to focus on the ride itself.

For more information about paying for tolls as a Lyft passenger, feel free to check out the article on our Help Center: https://www.lyft.com/help/article/1778877.”

Has anyone else incurred a double airport charge of $8 for being picked up or dropped off at DCA? I’m not aware of any automatic toll system at DCA, so I’m a bit confused. I’m continuing to fight the charge with Lyft, but wanted to see if others have experienced this. Also, for clarification, my driver was already on airport property when I requested the ride, so their explanation of the charge above would mean that their asking me to pay for a toll that occurred before my ride commenced. This seems crazy.”

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  • [email protected]

    I’ve been having so many issues with Lyft and Uber lately I’m thinking seriously about reverting to, dare I say, taxi service.

  • jumpingjack

    I don’t have an answer, but this is reminiscent of the terrible customer service I had on my first (and only) ride with Lyft last year. The driver was great, but Lyft customer service’s slow and useless responses to my questions about a billing error ensured that I will never ever ride with them again.

    • AnotherBdaleResident

      That’s so weird – I had the exact opposite experience with my first ride. The driver was awful, and we immediately reached out for help, and basically got free rides for a month. I’ve been riding with them ever since.

    • Jo

      I really hate this type of canned response that certain “internet” companies tend to put out. (There was a similar post about an Uber response recently.)
      It really wouldn’t take much for a person reading the inquiry to stop and say, “Hmmmm. This charge really doesn’t make sense. Let’s look at this.” And I would be a much happier (and repeat customer). Instead you get canned explanation of fees without addressing the fees charged.

  • CHGal

    It’s common practice for the rider to pay a cab’s tolls in and out of an airport, but there aren’t $4 tolls at DCA.

  • Mike

    From the fine print on Lyft’s website: “‡Trips to and from Dulles International (IAD) and Reagan National (DCA) airports are subject to a $4.00 surcharge. The fare includes a “DC Fee” remitted to the District of Columbia for trips originating within the District.”

    So it sounds like one $4 charge is correct, but not double.

  • RP
  • uberrider

    I just took Uber and MWAA has added a 4 dollar drop off or pick up fee. You should have only billed once. See this link:


  • marigold

    I don’t have an answer either but this line stuck out at me, “This automated toll system is live for bridges, turnpikes, and tunnels in all Lyft cities.” Does this mean that Lyft charges you a toll whenever your driver has to cross a bridge, tunnel, or get on a turnpike during your ride? If that’s the case that toll would apply to many many trips in the DMV.

    • textdoc

      I’d imagine it’s only for bridges/turnpikes/tunnels that have tolls (e.g., the NJ turnpike, toll bridges into Manhattan, etc.).

  • Philippe Lecheval

    I’m pretty unhappy with this asshole “under no circumstances are we going to refund this fee even if we’re totally in the wrong” stance they’re taking. Deleting the app from my phone right now…

    • TJ

      I settled in early with Uber, and have found them responsive and thorough with the few issues that have come up over time. It seems clear the Lyft driver left the ride going as they exited the airport, resulting in the double fee and perhaps even additonal charges for time/distance that may have continued after the OP left the car. I haven’t been tempted to try Lyft – the pink moustache thing being one reason – and the uninformed response they give above assures I won’t be trying them out.

  • AG

    It sounds like they just sent you a canned response without actually reading your complaint. I would reach out again. I don’t think I’ve ever contacted Lyft customer service (only recently started using them), but every time I’ve reached out to Uber I’ve been surprised by how prompt and nice they were.

    • jumpingjack

      This was my experience – after a three day delay, I got a (snippy) canned response that showed that they hadn’t bothered to read my message. I responded, asking my question again. Three days later I got another (snippier) canned response. First and last time I ever took Lyft.
      Uber may have shady business practices, but I’ve always gotten excellent and prompt customer service from it, which is why it’s kept me as a customer.

  • joel miller

    I took Lyft from DCA to Cleveland Park last week. I only have one $4 pick up fee so it sounds like they double billed you.

  • EvilStevie

    I recently took an Uber cab from Capitol Hill to DCA and was charged a $13 airport drop off fee. Should it have only been $4?

  • Matt

    I can’t find any reference to the fee being charged more than once.


    • Matt

      I’ll add that the author of this article is well connected and knows what he’s writing about.

  • AnonUberDriver

    Alright, going anon for this one, because I still enjoy driving. OP got double-charged on the pick-up/drop-off fee. There is no “toll” between DCA and Columbia Heights. Keep complaining to Lyft

    There is now a $4 fee charged by MWAA for uber/Lyft pick-ups and drop-offs at DCA and Dulles. uber/Lyft passes this fee on to the customer, much like taxis pass their $3 pick-up fee (also charged by MWAA) on to the customer thru the meter. This drop-off fee is insanity. I can understand charging a fee to pick-up, but for dropping someone off??? uber/Lyft is literally bringing the airport business. Is MWAA going to set up a tollbooth to start charging a husband for dropping off his spouse leaving out for a business trip while on his commute in to work?

    You can’t avoid the fee when getting picked up at either airport…it’s just going to happen. To not support the MWAA boondoggle, I now end all rides to DCA on the flyover bridge above Route 1 before reaching airport property on the other side of the railroad tracks.. I lose 50¢ on the fare to save the rider the $4 fee. That $4 would be better spent by tossing it into the Potomac and hoping a crabber finds it somewhere downriver than to give it to MWAA. Explain this to your driver and he/she might be willing to save you the fee as well if you chip a dollar or two their way.

    • DC Flyer

      “MWAA spokesman Rob Yingling confirmed Monday that Uber and Lyft have met the requirements and have been issued permits to operate at the airports. He said MWAA gave the companies the choice whether or not to incorporate the $4 access fee into their fares; it is not requiring them to pass the charge on to customers.”

      you might want to talk to your bosses at Uber about the pass through bit before making any assumptions.

      • AnonUberDriver

        I read the same thing. You’re nuts if you think any transportation provider is going to take a $4 loss every time they swing thru DCA/IAD. Taxicabs have passed their $3 fee to wait in the queue on to the passenger since forever. The choice was to either charge MWAA’s imposed fee or to not operate at the airport MWAA serves zero purpose other than to enforce the Washington Flyer taxi monopoly at Dulles.

        As an independent contractor, my uber “boss” can kiss it, and MWAA can suck wind.

  • Glen


    According to that link, there are some return trip toll costs, but NONE are in the DC area. My guess is that you got picked up at a point where the GPS thought it was outside the airport area (perhaps Terminal A), and as the Lyft driver drove through the normal travel lanes around the airport, the GPS erroneously thought it was entering and exiting the airport area during your ride.

    In any case, I’m pretty sure further time wasted with Lyft would get your money back, but definitely a poor customer service situation.

  • Copwatch

    I haven’t encountered this issue, but a few weeks ago I landed at DCA, was fortunate enough for my checked bag to be the second on the carousel, and when I checked into Uber, there was no surge pricing. Score!

    Wrong. Two drivers accepted my fair and immediately canceled. The third time I checked in, the pricing was surging at 1.5x. I reluctantly accepted, and was shocked when my fair was accepted by the driver who had just previously accepted and canceled on me. Clearly the drivers lie in wait for a large flight to land, and accept, then cancel, on fairs until surge pricing goes into effect.

    The uber drivers are almost getting as good as the cab drivers at ripping you off. At least this provides the possibility to immediately report the incident, as opposed to a cab where it’s more difficult to know who your driver was, or even which company’s cab your in, thanks to Vince’s brilliant uniform taxi colors.

    • TJ

      Thanks for flagging this issue. I too have suspected drivers at times are gaming the surge, and I have moved to another option when I get a cancel and then see the price go up when the next accept comes up. Ride-sharing services are great, but thankfully they aren’t a transportation monopoly, just another option.

    • AnonUberDriver

      Accept the fact that Arrivals at DCA nowadays is constantly busy from noon to midnite every single day. Don’t hate the player, hate the game. 1.5x surge is still way below standard taxicab rates. Also, the cab line is still there and a max-fare metro ride is still only $3.60 off-peak.


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