Four tips for saving money on Uber and Lyft rides
The pandemic and a driver shortage have caused some rideshare prices to increase by 20%, so here are four tips on how to cut costs.
Staff Video, USA TODAY
- As travel picks back up, riders across the country have noticed higher costs from ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft.
- RideGuru’s CEO said travelers can also expect longer wait times and «possibly many cancellations» over the holiday season.
- Analyst Mark Mahaney said rising fares mean drivers are able to make «materially more» than they did before the pandemic.
As a woman in New York City, Shweta Garg used to prefer using Ubers or Lyfts to get around town.
«I felt safer, especially at night or going to the airport with my stuff,» she told USA TODAY. «I was always the Uber Pool person.»
But now, Garg said rides are far too expensive for ride-hailing services to be an option. During a July trip from her home in the financial district to John F. Kennedy International Airport (about 20 miles), Garg was stunned to find Lyft asking for more than $250 for the 45-minute trip that used to cost her less than $70. Uber wasn’t much better, pricing out the trip at over $100.
She opted to take the AirTrain tram to the airport (which cost her less than $15) and a taxi ride back home when she returned (which cost about $90 including tip). Garg said Uber and Lyft fares have gotten bad enough that she can’t remember the last time she used their apps.
«It’s a joke between (my friends) now. If someone’s like, ‘I’m going to come in an Uber or Lyft,’ it’s like, ‘OK, you’re boujee,’ » she said. «It’s really frustrating because it’s something I felt safer doing, but it’s also something I can’t afford, and I’m sure a lot of other women can’t afford. It’s really just a shame.»
Garg isn’t alone. As travel picks back up, riders across the country have noticed higher costs from ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft. While company heads say they expect prices to drop as the pandemic ebbs, industry experts say costs will remain elevated throughout the holiday travel season.
Fares could ‘get worse’ over the holidays
Mark Mahaney, an analyst with investment banking advisory firm Evercore ISI, said there’s «no question» ride-hailing prices have spiked over the past year, with costs double pre-pandemic rates in some areas.
«Riders should be prepared for elevated pricing,» he told USA TODAY.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said earlier this month that average U.S. Uber prices were up 20% year-over-year, with the price hike largely driven by a shortage of drivers.
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«This has been, to some extent, a giant pricing experiment that no one wanted to get into,» Khosrowshahi told investors during a Nov. 4 earnings call.
Ippei Takahashi, CEO of travel search engine RideGuru, said ride hailing is a «driver’s market» these days, with travel demand outpacing the supply of available drivers. Along with higher fares, he said travelers can expect longer wait times and «possibly many cancellations» over the holiday season.
«It might even get worse over…
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