HIGHFILL, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A high number of people are traveling for the holiday weekend, and if someone you know is flying in, you might want to consider picking them up instead of letting them rely on a rideshare app like Uber.
If you think you’re paying more than you should for your Uber ride out of the Northwest Arkansas National Airport, you probably are. It’s because some Uber drivers are intentionally working the Uber system to create what Uber considers a “surge”, which charges you more for a ride.
An Uber surge is where there are more people requesting a ride than there are drivers available, so the app increases the price based on an area’s demand. At XNA, passengers are almost always forced to pay surge prices because some local drivers have found a way to make this happen.
Although, there are many drivers that think this practice is unfair. KNWA/FOX24 talked with two who are frustrated with their peers forcing the fake surges and wanted to remain anonymous.
“It makes the passengers pay $3, $7, $10, $15 above and beyond what they’re already paying, and I don’t think it’s fair,” said a Northwest Arkansas Uber driver.
To create the surges, all drivers in the area must shut their Uber apps off, wait for planes to land, and people to request rides. Once the price increases, they turn it back on and make the extra cash.
“I’m just not playing the game. I’m just doing what I need to do to make the money I need to make and to be honest to my passengers,” said the local Uber driver.
The drivers said it’s not common to have surges as frequently as they do at XNA. So honest drivers are hoping they don’t start losing their costumers.
“You come flying in from whatever location late at night or whatever, you’re tired, you want to get home you accept a surge, you’re not happy about it, but you think that’s a common thing,” said another Northwest Arkansas Uber driver.
The drivers said they are worried drivers will start doing this at other locations in NWA as well.
Some drivers say they’ve reported the dishonest behavior to Uber in hopes there would be consequences for the other drivers but have not seen anything done.
KNWA/FOX24 reached out to Uber for comment but has not heard back.