Anatomy of a Seven-Hour, $583 Uber Ride

Losing your wallet can really suck.

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Jun 17 2015, 3:24pm

Image: Jonathan Edwards

If you've ever used Uber, particularly if you're in a rush, you probably know the feeling of dread that comes with glancing at your phone afterward, wondering what you're going to pay.

Now, imagine how you'd feel if you looked down and saw that you were charged $583.69.

Unlike some other outrageous Uber bills we've seen before, this charge wasn't a mistake, and there was no funny business going on. Instead, a desperate customer needed to take a 278-mile trip from Scranton, Pennsylvania to Buffalo, New York in what must be one of the longest Uber rides of all time.

"I found this guy in front of the McDonald's and he said 'two other Uber drivers didn't want to take this trip, are you OK with going to Buffalo?'" Jonathan Edwards, the driver, told me. "I'm like, 'Sure, I'll take you,' but in the back of my mind I was wondering, 'How am I going to do this?'"

Edwards says the customer lost his wallet in Scranton, and an epically long Uber trip was his only chance of making it back to Buffalo in time for work the next day.

"He wasn't able to fly or take the bus or anything without an ID or credit card, hence the whole spending a ton of money on an Uber thing. The credit card validation was already done," Edwards, who runs Ready Set Uber and the Uber Driver Log podcast said.

And so, the two started their trip at 11 PM last Tuesday. It was 6 AM by the time Edwards dropped the customer off in time to go to work. Edwards said they talked a bit about traveling, video games, and the peculiarity of the trip. He stopped roughly once every hour to stretch or grab some gas.

Though his drive is insanely long, I was able to find one longer trip, from Santa Barbara, California to Palo Alto, a 320 mile trek. Despite its longer length, that trip actually took less time because the route is almost entirely on highways. The route from Scranton to Buffalo is less direct. Surely, there are other long Uber trips out there that haven't been publicized by their drivers.

"My average rides are something like five miles, so, they're pretty decent, but not like this," Edwards said. "It was worth it 100 percent, I made something like $38 an hour after Uber fees."