Uber, Lyft surge pricing increasing demand for traditional cabs


LOS ANGELES (NewsNation Now) — While the 4th of July holiday rush is now over, due to a nationwide driver shortage, Uber and Lyft customers are still seeing a lot of surge pricing. It’s created a rebound surge — a renewed demand for traditional cabs.

At Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday, there was frustration among rideshare customers all over the country.

“I knew it’d probably be like up there, but not like almost a hundred dollars to go somewhere that’s like 20 minutes away,” traveler Breanne Bennett said.

That uber-high price prompted Bennett and her friend to just take a taxi. Other customers defected, too.

Long waits and surge pricing have popped up everywhere, just as more Americans are traveling and returning to routines. The frustration stretches from L.A. to Las Vegas, Chicago, and New York. But it’s not just customers in major cities; there’s even disappointment in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“They said an Uber would take like 18 minutes to get to us, and then after that, the ride ended up being like almost $30 to get back. I stay like right down the street,” a traveler told NewsNation.

The number of miffed rideshare customers is fueling a big shift back to traditional taxis. In San Francisco, many are tapping the yellow cab app, YoTaxi!.

“I had such a good experience and was so surprised. I mean, saving almost over double what I would’ve paid taking a Lyft or an Uber,” said Noah Rosenblatt, a San Francisco resident.

Another option customers are using is Flywheel, an on-demand taxi app that’s seen demand triple.

“I think Uber and Lyft probably are going to readjust surge pricing because they have been so many complaints about it. But until that happens here, I think taxi drivers are in for a good period of time,” said Flywheel President Hansu Kim.

In a statement, Lyft told NewsNation, in part: “We’ve added thousands of drivers in the past few weeks, and it’s already leading to a better rider experience with wait times down more than 15% nationwide, and down 35% in some major markets.”

In L.A. Thursday, rideshare users reported shorter wait times, but many price points are still high.

“They do charge you a lot. Like $70 bucks for one ride. But, everything has its pros and cons, I guess,” said Azalea Martinez, a Lyft customer.

Rideshare companies are hopeful that more drivers will return. But in online forums, former drivers say it’s not worth it, given no major increases in wages with surge pricing amid much higher gas prices.

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