Claims Uber has increased prices and Birmingham drivers refuse rides during the Commonwealth Games 2022

With road closures and rail strikes, transport services are severely affected during the Commonwealth Games

Locals and visitors in Birmingham have told how they have faced difficulties getting around the city - with claims that Uber drivers are refusing short trips and increasing their prices.

On Saturday, prices soared as the train strike got under way and road closures for the Commonwealth Gamesmarathon were in place.

The city is hosting the Commonwealth Games 2022 between 28 July and 8 August, during which one million people are expected to visit the region to attend the 11 days of the Birmingham 202 sporting competition.

One local Uber user tweeted saying, “Getting around Birmingham now the commonwealth games are on is so hard wtf. Ubers telling me I have to walk to a point outside of town to get an Uber... I had to walk to the O2 to get it. annoying. and trams are back working now, just causing traffic.”

Another resident said anonymously she couldn’t find an Uber after the Opening Ceremony. “I tried getting on Temple Street, Colmore Row and the Drop & Go tunnel by New Street. But none of the Uber drivers would accept my fare. I was trying to get to Kings Norton and they said it wasn’t a big enough fare for them. They said they only wanted big fares because the Commonwealth Games were on. Good job you can still rely on the black cabs and Seven Sevens taxi group are available,” she said.

Another Birmingham resident from Jewellery Quarter suggested calling TOA taxis instead.

Kelly Adams said, “I had three cancellations and they are still pending.”

Uber appUber app
Uber app

Graham from North Edgbaston explained, “There’s huge demand at the moment because of the Commonwealth Games and many people are travelling into the city from outside.”

A resident near the city centre complained that his sister paid £20 for a short ride because of the Games. Meanwhile, another resident from city centre had an innovative hack to the issue.

“I had seriously tough time yesterday. I had to hop into a cab that was driving by,” he said.

Uber uses a dynamic pricing model when there is heavy traffic and the demand for rides exceeds the number of drivers available. The fee is based on a base rate, operating fee and busy times and fares. At the time of publication, an UberX ride between Edgbaston and the Birmingham City Centre is estimated to cost £6.40.

Meanwhile, another resident recommended using Bolt. However, they said a short ride on Bolt was priced at around £30 on Saturday, when roads inside and around the marathon route were closed from 2.30am to 3.30pm.

Uber has been contacted for comment but they have not responded.

Bolt issued a press release on Friday and reported a 10% increase in rides week-on-week as people travelled in anticipation of the opening ceremony. It also said: “Bolt is offering all riders across the region a 50% rider discount on a trip throughout the Games, all they need to do is enter COMMONWEALTH* promo code into the promotions page of the app.”

A Bolt spokesperson told BirminghamWorld today (1 August): “The city’s mission from hosting the Commonwealth Games is to bring communities together - the same applies at Bolt. With the Games being such a spectacle and privilege for the city, demand for our ride-hailing service has increased significantly. Bolt is committed to ensuring people can move around safely so, when this happens, Bolt applies a surge multiplier in order to balance the levels of demand from passengers and supply of available drivers. Drivers are free to accept or decline trips as they choose. If a driver chooses to decline or cancel a trip, the passenger is notified and encouraged to book with another driver.”

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