‘It just never stops’: Increase in Uber drivers in Tacoma mostly attributed to inflation

The ridesharing company says it’s seen a 54% increase in people signing on to drive from this time last year in Tacoma.

TACOMA, Wash. — According to Uber, the company has seen a 30% increase in Uber drivers from this time last year companywide, but the increase is even larger in Tacoma.

The ridesharing company says it’s seen a 54% increase in people signing on to drive from this time last year in Tacoma.

Uber spokesperson Zahid Arab says the reason is the rising costs of goods.

“It’s just a really tough time all around,” Arab explains. “Inflation’s going up, rents are going up, groceries aren’t getting any cheaper, and people are just looking for a quick way to earn some extra cash to stretch their family budget.”

Rajean Haygood says she’s been driving Uber for the past three months, picking up shifts after she’s done with her job as a direct support professional.

“It definitely helps pay a bill or two,” she said. “That’s how it helps me.”

Haygood moved to Tacoma from Kansas City, and spent her time going to school and being a stay-at-home mom, while looking for job opportunities. She said she appreciates the extra income she can bring in driving, but says she wouldn’t be driving if inflation wasn’t so high.

“It was a complete life change,” she said. “I had to put a pause on school…Everything is stressful because everything has gone up so much that I’ve had to change my whole lifestyle to get on board to help my family.”

According to the US Bureau Labor of Statistics, the costs of most consumer goods have gone up nearly 9% over the last year.

As of October, food prices rose 11.5%, and energy prices increased 22%, mostly due to gas prices.

Haywood says that constant pressure to keep up with prices means there’s no time to rest.

“It’s just, like, it never stops. It’s like you have to constantly keep going just to make it. It’s like being afraid to stop grinding,” Haygood says.

She also sees how the time away from home has affected her family.

“My fiancé is stressed out, my kids are a little more on edge, everybody is stressed out,” she said.

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