‘It’s very difficult for us right now’: High gas prices take toll on rideshare drivers
Uber and Lyft temporarily extend fuel surcharge fee to help drivers
HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - As the national price for gas tops $5 a gallon, people across the country are feeling the pain at the pump as they fill up their cars, including those who drive for a living.
Patrick Dennis is a full-time rideshare driver for Uber and Lyft in the Richmond area and decided to go behind the wheel for several reasons, including the flexibility of his schedule.
“Meeting people and being mobile, I like that,” Dennis said. “I did corporate America for 30 years, and I like the freedom of rideshare.”
His full-time gig on the road is also met with concerns about the price of his gas tank as prices at the pump skyrocket.
“I try not to let it get past a half a tank,” Dennis said. “It’s $50 in this car. It’s a four-cylinder. That’s a half a tank.”
Delores Jordan, a rideshare driver who also works for Uber and Lyft, is also feeling the pinch as drivers work to cover the costs of their trips.
“It’s very difficult for us right now,” Jordan said. “Because gas is so high, and we try to take every trip because every trip is money for us, but sometimes the trip doesn’t pay for the fuel.”
In response to the rising prices, a spokesperson for Uber sent us the following statement:
“We know drivers are feeling the sting of record-high prices at the pump so we are temporarily extending the gas surcharge on rides trips. We’ll continue to listen to driver and courier feedback and proactively communicate any changes to them in advance.”
The fuel surcharge is an additional 55 cents for each ride, which Uber said will go directly to drivers.
A spokesperson for Lyft also said they are temporarily extending their fuel surcharge for drivers, which is also the same amount Uber is offering.
A spokesperson for Uber also added, ‘the goal of this surcharge is to soften the burden of higher prices, not cover all of the cost of gas.”
Back in March, Uber and Lyft announced measures to help drivers cover fuel costs as gas prices started climbing. However, Jordan said she’s strategizing other ways to save on fuel.
“I live out of town, so I park this car closer to the airport and drive a more economical car back and forth. So, I don’t have to use up a lot of gas because this is a big car, and this car requires a lot of gasoline,” Jordan said.
“It’s very scary,” Dennis said. “I’m just continuing to strive to maintain traction. That’s the goal to still be profitable, but it’s taking more to do that.”
If gas prices continue to climb, Dennis said he might also reconsider his time on the road.
“I might have to go back to a regular job where it doesn’t entail me having to spend money for fuel or anything else,” he said. “I might just have to do that because this is not affordable.”
An Uber spokesperson also said the company continues to see an increase in drivers on their platform. The spokesperson also adds that May was their best month in terms of active drivers since March 2020.
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