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Shelling out more for ‘hailing’ a ride

“Most people are still needing rides"
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Posted at 6:52 PM, Apr 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-12 18:55:02-04

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — If you use ride-sharing services you've probably noticed higher prices as inflation is hitting from all sides.

The high cost of gas has forced riding-sharing services like Uber and Lyft to hike their prices.

Prices for taxicabs could also be going up soon in Buffalo.

Buffalo Common Council Member Joseph Golombek is proposing to increase rates to help out taxi drivers.

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Vehicles ridding along Route 5.

Ride share driver Chris Gerace of Hamburg says last month both Uber and Lyft added new fuel surcharges.

In our market, Uber and Lyft implemented a .55 surcharge for rides. Uber Eats is .35.

100% of that goes to drivers like Gerace because they are paying more to keep gas in their vehicles.

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Ride share driver Chris Gerace of Hamburg.

But Gerace tells me even with the increase, he's still scheduling rides.

“Most people are still needing rides to go to and from work or to the bar or to wherever they might be going, so yeah, they're definitely still using the services,” Gerace explained.

Gerace says if I wanted a ride from Route 5 in Hamburg into Downtown Buffalo, it would cost about $15 to $20.

“It just depends on the ride length, the duration, distance, and all that that really calculate it because every ride is dynamically priced to time and distance,” described Gerace.

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Ride share driver Chris Gerace of Hamburg.

The surcharge is expected to be temporary with a review after 60-days.

But it's different if you prefer to travel by taxicab.

“We do not surcharge like some ride share companies. The rate is the rate,” remarked Bill Yunke, owner & president, Liberty Yellow Cab.

Yunke says high gas prices are putting a “big strain” on his drivers and some have stopped working altogether.

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Bill Yunke, owner & president, Liberty Yellow Cab.

“Because it was costing them more money to put in the tank than getting the fares,” Yunke noted.

The Common Council proposal calls for a taxicab rate hike, something that hasn't happened since 2007.

“The ground transportation had to do something,” Yunke remarked.

The proposal calls to hike taxi mileage rates in the city from $2.30 to $5.30 cents for the first one-sixth mile.

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Outside Liberty Yellow Cab on Kenmore Avenue, Buffalo.

Yunke now operates his taxi service much like ride share companies.

New technology allows requests for cab service through apps and the computer. Yunke says customers can request flat rates.

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New computerized technology used at Liberty Yellow Cab.

Yunke says Uber has also received approval in New York City to work directly with Liberty.

“We are in negotiations and — you'll be able to order an Uber or taxi in this market, it will be Liberty,” Yunke responded.

“So that could be coming down the pike soon?” Buckley asked. “It’s coming down very soon,” replied Yunke.