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Steep fuel costs have rideshare drivers considering changing jobs

Steep fuel costs have rideshare drivers considering changing jobs
Posted at 7:44 PM, Jun 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-06 23:19:42-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With gas prices continuing to rise, Steven Mathis, a Lyft driver, will be lucky if he can break-even after a full day of work.

"I have to work seven days a week instead of three," Mathis said.

That's just to make ends meet. He blames rising fuel costs which are breaking records in some parts of the country.

"I’ve got four years of doing this and I have to go work for somebody else," Mathis said. "I can't maintain this job. Besides, I can't make enough money to live on a daily basis."

He isn't alone.

"The customer pays $50, they give you $15, $16 — it’s not good," Jean Derisme, another rideshare driver, said.

Both Uber and Lyft have tacked on a fuel surcharge that they say goes directly to drivers to help soften the pain at the pump.

Uber charges an extra 45 or 55 cents per trip.

"We know drivers are feeling the sting of record-high prices at the pump, so we are temporarily extending the gas surcharge on rides trips," an Uber spokesperson said in a statement to KSHB 41 News on Monday. "We'll continue to listen to driver and courier feedback and proactively communicate any changes to them in advance."

Lyft does 55 cents each time a person uses their services.

"I always said $5 a gallon would be absolutely a back breaking point, you know, that would be the point where it would just be no longer make any sense," Trent Martin, an Uber driver, said.

Martin doesn't have to worry about that now as an owner of a Tesla.

"I was spending about $75 a day in my previous car, and I'm spending between $22 and $25 on this a day, so it's a huge difference," Martin said.

He, similar to some other drivers, stick to places where passengers are guaranteed like the Kansas City International Airport.

"Ninety percent of my business is here at the airport, but you know, unfortunately more and more people are doing that," Martin said. "So it's causing it to slow way down. The harder it is to make money, the more difficult it's going to be to survive this. So it's you know, it's a catch 22."

As fuel prices continued to go up, rideshare drivers hope passengers can be generous with tips.

"I know everybody's hurting because gas and inflation has gone up, everybody's hurting today," Mathis said. "But if you take an Uber or Lyft, tip the driver at least a gallon of gas, at least $4. You know, because that's what it costs us to get you anywhere you need to go."