A Washington D.C. man expected a quick ride and a small bill when he got into an Uber driver's car -- but he woke up to a steep charge, because the driver cruised as the rider snoozed.
The Uber rider, Mekele Baucom, told News4 he was billed $171 for a 71-mile ride when he asked to be taken home 1 mile away but fell asleep in the car. The driver drove back and forth on the Capital Beltway, Baucom's receipt shows.
Baucom said he summoned an UberX car about 2 a.m. Feb. 5 on 7th Street NW, in the Shaw neighborhood, after a night out with friends. He said he told the driver his home address near NoMa, rather than entering it into the app, and then dozed in the backseat.
"I think I must have fallen asleep in the car pretty fast," he said.
He woke up about 4 a.m. and was stunned to realize he had been in the car for so long.
"This dude literally just took me on a ride," he said. "Anything could have happened."
According to Baucom's receipt, the driver picked him up on 7th Street NW in D.C., drove into Bethesda, Maryland, cruised on the Beltway to Prince George's County and then backtracked to D.C.
Two hours and 6 minutes, 71 miles and $171 later, he was home.
Baucom, who works in retail, said the experience made him uneasy.
"I was asleep -- granted, my fault -- but I was asleep for two hours," he said.
Uber refunded Baucom his money but declined to specifically address the incident to News4.
"Uber expects riders and drivers alike to have a shared standard for respect, accountability and common courtesy during rides," the company said in a statement. Uber suggests that passengers enter their destinations into the app before their trips.
Asked whether he fell asleep because he was drunk, Baucom said no, that he just had been tired.
"I was the designated friend," he said.
Baucom said he doesn't think he'll ever have a repeat of his 71-mile ride.
"I definitely don't think I'm going to use Uber anymore," he said.