For many drivers who work for Lyft Uber, their vehicles are how they make a living. As independent contractors, they are responsible for keeping their vehicles clean, running and full of gas.
But because drivers are contract workers, the companies do not reimburse them for the cost of fueling up. Gas prices, on average, have increased 49 percent in the past year, according to AAA. With the recent increase in gas prices, Lyft and Uber have updated their standard fees for anyone who uses the ride-sharing services.
In response to soaring gas prices, the two companies recently announced that they’re now implementing temporary surcharges on all rides to help drivers deal with the increase in gas prices.
As of Wednesday, March 16, Uber began charging customers an extra $0.45 or $0.55 per ride and $0.35 or $0.45 on delivery orders. Lyft added $0.55 to each ride.
“We know drivers and couriers are feeling the sting of record-high prices at the pump,” Liza Winship, Uber’s head of driver operations in the United States and Canada, said in a statement announcing the gas surcharge. Lyft followed the movement with a blog post.
Both companies said that the new fees will go straight to drivers and changes are set to be in effect for the next two months.
Stan Jackson, an Uber driver, based in Tallahassee, said he has been working six days a week instead of his usual five in order to make up for the rising fuel costs. Jackson said he used to fill his tank for $20 to $30. Not anymore. Now he is now spending $40 to $50 to fill up.
“It has shifted the way I’m working. I’ve been more critical of the orders I take and the distance I’m taking them, seeing if they’re worth my while,” he said.
Jaelynn Galmer, a Florida A&M student, said she needs to be more strategic now when it comes to using the ride-sharing companies.
“Being a college student with no car means I must utilize either Uber or Lyft,” Galmer said. “It is already difficult to have to spend money on the expense of a ride, when it is my only option if I am unable to get a ride from a friend.”
“With the price of gas rising, this has caused the cost of my trips to have doubled. At this point I think it would be a better investment if I were to purchase a scooter or even a bike,” she added.
Even with the spike in gas prices, both Uber and Lyft say drivers have been making more money since lockdowns lifted than they did earlier in the pandemic or even pre-pandemic. Both of the companies are promoting a partnership with an app called GetUpside that offers some cash back rewards for getting gas.