Some Rideshare Trips Now Cost Chicagoans Over $50 For 2.5 Miles

Riders are reporting longer wait times and higher prices on Uber and Lyft

NBC Universal, Inc.

If you take Uber and Lyft, you’ve probably realized some higher fares and longer wait times.

Across the Chicago area, viewers have reported extreme price surges during all hours of the day.

Some receipts sent to NBC 5 show a more than $50 price tag for a 2.5-mile ride. A trip from Lake View East to near downtown Chicago shows rates pushing $30.

Pre-pandemic, it was common for riders to pay the same amount, but for nearly 15-mile trip from downtown Chicago to O’Hare airport.

With increasing prices, some downtown workers are finding other modes of transportation to get to work.

Lake View resident, Sean Somers, said he can park his car downtown for $15, which is less than a one-way rideshare trip from his North Side home to the Magnificent Mile.

“It’s got to be really expensive,” said Somers. “Sometimes it’s really hard to get a car. It can be an 11-minute wait.”

Chicagoan Zachary Lindner said, on a rainy day, he’s been charged almost $70 to get from Rogers Park to Lake View.

“It’s affecting my wallet and you’re also playing a game of chicken with uber,” said Lindner. “Do you wait long enough to hope the prices go down or do you bite the bullet and spend the absurd amount of money?”

The Independent Drivers Guild of Chicago blames the higher prices on less drivers on the road.

Organizer Kevin Nelson said recent carjackings and COVID-19 have contributed to a lack of drivers willing to take the risk.

Nelson added that if Uber and Lyft add more app safety features for drivers, like a voice activated call for help, drivers may be motivated to come back.

In a statement, Uber cited vaccinations for higher demand and said it’s working to add more drivers and delivery personnel to the road.

Lyft said it’s seen a big increase in demand, partly due to more people getting vaccinated.

Meanwhile, public transportation is also seeing a return of ridership.

On Tuesday, Metra recorded its highest ridership numbers since the start of the pandemic. Pace said ridership is down just 55% in April compared to 70% in 2020.

The CTA is also seeing a return of riders, reporting 500,000 daily rides on busses and trains.

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