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Have you ever looked at your rideshare receipt and seen something called "wait fee"? If you're confused about what this charge means, we are here to tell you. Uber and Lyft charge you a fee if you show up late to your vehicle and make the driver wait for you to arrive.
This fee was introduced in the past year to benefit drivers and pay them for the time spent in the car waiting. It makes sense -- if a passenger makes the driver wait, the driver is missing out on the opportunity to complete more rides and make more money. However, the new "wait fee" policy gives passengers a mere two minutes to arrive to the car. When you're in a situation where you can't find the driver, or the driver starts the trip prior to you getting there, things start to get frustrating.
Uber issued this notice about the wait time fee for passengers:
A per-minute Wait Time fee will begin 2 minutes after your driver arrives at your location. We'll notify you that the charge has started, and it will continue until you enter your vehicle and the driver begins the trip.
The time starts to tick when the Uber's Driver App determines the driver has arrived at your location. It continues to tick until the driver clicks on "Start Trip."
Contrary to what you may assume, the driver actually does NOT need to indicate they have arrived. The GPS of the app makes this determination, so the driver can't say he arrived prior to when he/she actually did.
The best way to avoid this fee is to be on time, and not request the ride until you have arrived at your designated pickup location. This can be difficult when you don't want to be sitting around waiting for the Uber, but it beats paying an extra $5 on top of your trip fare.
If you think your wait fee was wrongly assessed, feel free to submit a ticket request in the app under your trip receipts. If you explain your situation to Uber, they might refund you for your wait fee.