On Friday, Uber announced that starting March 16, users will have to pay a fuel surcharge to help offset the strain of higher gas prices for drivers. Depending on their location, riders will now pay an extra $0.45 or $0.55 per trip (and $0.35 or $0.45 more for Uber Eats).
While the new fees are national, there is one exception: New York City. Trips that start within New York City (or orders delivered to customers there) will be excluded. According to the ride share company, drivers in New York City received a 5.3 percent increase above the city’s mandated minimum earning standard on March 1, which accounts for increased operating costs.
As for the rest of the country, “The surcharges are based off the average trip distance and the increase in gas prices in each state,” Liza Winship, Uber’s head of driver operations for the U.S. and Canada said in a press release. She added that “this is temporary for at least the next 60 days, when we’ll reassess.”
In an online post aimed at drivers, the company said the move is “designed to try and keep earnings [for drivers] consistent during this difficult moment.” According to AAA, on March 14, the national average for gas prices was $4.325 per gallon (the range spans from $3.818, largely in the Midwest, to $5.744 on the West Coast). This time a year ago, the average for regular gas was $2.859. If gas prices continue to rise, it could push workers to decide driving just isn’t worth it financially anymore. If that happens and there are fewer available ride-shares, the cost of rides could further increase.
Lyft has also announced plans to introduce fuel surcharges effective March 21—it will be a flat $0.55 per ride (again, with the exception of New York City, where there will be no additional fee). In a statement shared with AFAR, CJ Macklin, senior communications manager at Lyft, said, “We’ve been closely monitoring rising gas prices and their impact on our driver community. Driver earnings overall remain elevated compared to last year, but given the rapid rise in gas prices, we’ll be asking riders to pay a temporary fuel surcharge, all of which will go to drivers.”
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