Uber, Lyft drivers have advice to avoid surge pricing for Cavs/Warriors Game 3

Lyft Ride Screen
Lyft Ride Screen
Official Uber Pick Up Zone (Courtesy Cavaliers)
Official Uber Pick Up Zone (Courtesy Cavaliers)
Deante Lilly After Dropping Lyft Riders Off
Deante Lilly After Dropping Lyft Riders Off
Non Surge Cost of Uber from Cleveland 19 to Q Arena
Non Surge Cost of Uber from Cleveland 19 to Q Arena

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Uber and Lyft drivers have their own plan of attack to handle Wednesday's crowds for Game 3 of the NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors.

Cleveland 19 didn't hear back from media representatives for both Uber and Lyft in time for publication, so decided to ride along with and talk to two drivers on the road Tuesday afternoon.

"It's crowded, it's really crowded (during championship Cavs games), but it's good. Good for the city, very good," said Patricia Love-Fields, discussing crowds expected Wednesday night.

Love-Fields is a retired RTA driver who now drives for Uber.

"It's just a mini van versus a big bus," she said.

She has a plan of attack for Wednesday night's crowds -- she doesn't plan to fight through them.

"I come out early," laughs Love-Fields. "I don't do the night crowd, but I come out early, I do come out early. I'll get them there, but I won't get them home -- somebody else will do that."

Love-Fields said there are a lot of drivers who prefer to drive at night, so it's never an issue.

One of those drivers who usually drives at night, and who plans to be on the road Wednesday after the game, is Lyft driver Deante Lilly.

"I'm actually going to watch the game, definitely going to watch the game, my son and I are going to watch the game, but other than that I'll be out there tomorrow night," said Lilly.

Drivers expect thousands of fans to head downtown Wednesday for the big game, and the big crowds could also mean big money for ride share drivers.

Both Lyft and Uber use versions of "surge pricing," where the price goes up when there's increased demand, like after a major event. For example, drivers told Cleveland 19 that after the Cavs 2016 championship parade, surge pricing increased fares by a factor of five. That means that the $6 ride from Channel 19 to the Quicken Loans Arena Tuesday, would have cost about $30 on the Cavs parade day.

"It's gonna be high, I guarantee, it's going to be like a 600 percent, which I've never seen it being that high, but days like that it's going to be -- the surge is going to be high," said Lilly. "Everybody is going to need a ride home, and back to the hotels or wherever they need to go."

Uber explains the company's reason for surge pricing on its website like this: "In these cases of very high demand, we choose to start raising prices little by little to encourage more partners to get on the road so there are enough drivers available to respond to the requests. This system is called surge pricing, and it lets us continue to be a reliable choice."

Drivers told Cleveland 19 that surge pricing definitely provides an incentive to brave the crowds and people for major events.

"It's a personal choice, it's a personal choice if you choose to pay for the ride [with surge pricing] or not," said Lilly. "Some people will pay for the ride. I've seen it and some people won't. It is what it is. I mean like we don't know."

He went on to point out that Uber and Lyft may still be a safer, and more affordable option to driving downtown Wednesday.

"We're out here for people who want the door to door service, and want to come down here without paying for the high prices, because I know it's going to be like $100 parking, and $50 parking. I think that's ridiculous, but that's why we're here to get people here so they don't have to pay for all that," said Lilly.

Both Uber and Lyft say that they say right on the app if surge pricing is active. Drivers also said that riders can also avoid surge pricing by arriving early or leaving late from major events, avoiding the peak times.

The game is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. The Warriors are up 2-0 in the seven-game series.

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