SMF travelers struggle with rideshare shortages, surges

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Many have been running into shortages and surges when looking to hire a ride. 

COVID-era wait times and prices for Uber and Lyft are causing slowdowns and sticker shock across the country, and people have been really feeling that pain at the Sacramento Airport.  

“I’d seen things on TikTok and Instagram about Uber and Lyft increasing their prices, but I wasn’t really ready for this,” said Mike Soforenko, who was visiting from Orlando, Florida.

Soforenko grudgingly booked a $72 Uber from Sacramento International Airport to South Sacramento. By the time FOX40 caught up with him, he had been waiting for about half an hour for his ride.

“It was $60 for an SUV to take all of us, then surges to $100,” explained Sacramento resident Chris Whitehead.

Whitehead said his family ran into the same issue on the Anaheim end of their trip to Disneyland.

An airport spokesperson said SMF monitors the transportation options to and from the airport and estimates wait times for ride-sharing used to be four to 10 minutes, and now they’re 30 to 40 minutes. In the evening, the surge pricing potentially drives the price of a downtown fare up from $25 to $120.

Uber attributed the higher prices and wait times in part to a lack of drivers.

“With the economy bouncing back and more people beginning to move, drivers are returning to the Uber platform to take advantage of higher earnings opportunities. In the past few weeks, we’ve seen a modest decrease in wait times for Uber rides, and we hope to continue that progress in the months ahead.”

Uber statement

However, frustration with ride-sharing services means some are rediscovering or — depending on their age — discovering another option.

“A lot of people got used to only looking at Uber and Lyft,” said airport taxi driver Tony Rahim. “Now when they see the price, they know, they will come to the taxi.”

The airport taxi services offer a $35 flat rate to downtown and a $50 round-trip option. They admit they’re not always the cheaper option, but with the current ride-sharing situation, it’s worth at least stopping by to do a comparison.

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