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As travel ramps back up, here's why riders and ride-share drivers say they're getting uber-frustrated

Some travelers are turning back to flat-rate car services and taxis.

TAMPA, Fla. — Left stranded? Overcharged? Underpaid?

Whether you ride or drive, chances are if you’ve tried to use a ride-sharing service lately, you’ve run into problems. That’s left folks uber-frustrated this Memorial Day weekend.

“They’ve been really expensive. They’re taking forever to come,” said passenger Mackenzie Fuller. “I actually worried about catching my flight this morning because I couldn’t get one.”

Customers are complaining about higher surge pricing brought on by a lack of available cars. Many drivers quit the business during the pandemic and now, with travel picking back up, it’s created a squeeze.

“It seems a little expensive to me,” said Tanya LeBoulch grabbing a ride at TPA. “Because we’re not that far away.”

Drivers aren’t happy either.

During COVID, many were allowed to set their own fares to make driving more attractive. Now they’re feeling shortchanged as Uber is the one setting payout rates again.

“A lot of drivers are mad at the fact that their rates have gone down,” said driver Chris Rios. “And that’s why a lot of drivers prefer to go on unemployment or not work for the company at all.”

“Right now, in order to cover my expenses, we look for the surge,” said driver Jama Yacub. “If there is no surge, we don’t move. Because we’re losing money and time.”

In a recent statement, Uber said  “Over the last year, rider cancellations have increased 117%. We’ve seen that most riders are simply not taking trips with fare multipliers above 1x or without an upfront price. We need to make changes so all drivers can get more trip requests and riders can count on getting a ride when they request one.”

In the meantime, some travelers are turning back to flat-rate car services and taxis for a more reliable ride with a predictable price.

“A lot of them are taking taxis, I noticed,” said a driver named Yuiry, “and are less interested in Uber, because Uber tends to overcharge. Especially during peak times. And then when it’s not busy they underpay us. So, there’s no point of us to drive. Go out of our way to pick somebody up.”

Uber recently unveiled a $250-million stimulus package of its own, aimed at luring drivers back with bonuses.

As for riders, travel experts say if you see-off-the-charts surge pricing, consider waiting a few minutes and then try again. A little patience could save you some big money.

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