CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — It’s the beginning of the busiest holiday travel time of the season. The TSA expects to screen more than 30 million travelers over the 12-day travel period.
Charlotte Douglas airport officials project about 900,000 local and connecting passengers to leave the airport—an uptick of 14% from last year.
With the increased volume of travelers arriving at the airport, rideshare drivers have noticed a rise in travel time to pick up passengers.
“If you got a call from somebody that wants an Uber to the airport, [it] is going to take us like 15-20 minutes to go. The airport is right here. It’s like full of traffic, full of traffic,” says Raymond Castaldi. He’s been a rideshare driver for Uber for 6 years.
Normally the holiday travel season yields a decent profit for him, but he says lately there isn’t much money being made.
“We actually lose, you know, 20, 30 because it takes us a long time for the trip, you know?” Castaldi said.
James Higdon agrees with him. He’s been driving for 5 years. He says on average he loses nearly 40 percent of the money he makes outside of the holiday travel period.
He normally waits 10 to 15 minutes for a ride request, but during the busy travel season, that time increases to 20 minutes.
“You coming from the airport and you need to Uber, you should schedule one or reserve one, so that way you have a driver, and if they don’t even accept you right, that way they’ll find you another driver,” says Higdon.
He recommends scheduling a ride; it would also protect riders from surge pricing.
“I take the biggest loss during surge pricing,” Higdon said.
Castaldi says, unfortunately, there isn’t anything drivers or riders can do.
“It’s only a week. It’s like Christmas… It’s the same,” he said.