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Calling a ride? Rideshares are becoming more expensive, harder to find. Here's why

In a statement from Uber, the company told WUSA9 that the recent surge in the area is closely tied to driver supply due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

WASHINGTON — As more people get vaccinated and the region continues to open an Uber spokesperson said the demand for customers has increased.

That, unfortunately, goes in tandem with a lack of drivers which is causing a recent price surge in the D.C. area, according to the spokesperson. That means prices are going up for people like Janet Hennige who calls an Uber weekly for her blind friend to go to the doctor.

“This morning at 8:26 I requested her an uber. And the fee for the Uber to get her to her eye doctor was $13.43,” Hennige said. “When she got out of the doctor’s appointment at 9:16 and called me to request her Uber, because again she’s legally blind she can’t do this herself, it was $31.71."

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Hennige said she and her friend had allotted $30 round trip for the doctor’s appointment and live less than three miles away from the doctor's office. She said the trip usually costs about $8 to $11 each way.

“She’s poor. I’m poor. I mean how are all these people who are taking Uber thinking it's okay. It cost me $8 one way and then they’re getting the slammed in the face with $30 or $40 or God only knows how much,” Hennige said.

“The recent surge pricing that we’ve seen in DC is closely tied to our driver supply,” Michele Blackwell, a spokesperson for Uber said in a statement. “As you can imagine, the pandemic has affected driver supply and the increasing demand has had an impact on the market. We are working to address this and recently announced a $250 million driver stimulus to boost their earnings.”

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Rideshare drivers at Union Station said it’s been a revolving door of riders. As soon as one ends, they are on their way to pick up somebody else. One driver said it was hard during COVID, but now it’s much better financially.

Unfortunately for some riders, that comes at a cost.

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