Uber and Lyft drivers say Kansas City makes life difficult for them and their passengers

July 25, 2018 - 7:36 am

Lyft and Uber drivers are frustrated with difficulties they are having when picking up passengers at some venues and entertainment spots in Kansas City. 

Sheila Palmer, who drives for Uber and Lyft, says blocked off streets in Westport, in particular, have made it almost impossible to pick up passengers.

"Early mornings, trying to pick up the drunk people, it's really hard to direct a drunk person to go from Kelly's down to Bridger to try to pick them up, which is three blocks away," Palmer said. "The police department will not let us stop long enough to pick them up."

The Kenny Chesney concert at Arrowhead Stadium was absolute chaos, said Kansas City Police Sgt. Tamara Pronske. A huge number of riders overwhelmed the pick up spot at the Missouri Welcome Center.

"It was just like a parking lot on Blue Ridge, and people not being able to find their cars, or the cars not being able to find their passengers, just congested the entire area," Pronske said. 

Another meeting is set up with Arrowhead Stadium officials to see what improvements can be made to assist transportation providers and their customers.

"We need to have some sort of solutions or suggestions going forward, because, in my opinion, what happened on Saturday, we can't have that every single concert or every single game," Pronske said. "It was just way too dangerous."

The biggest problem, drivers say, is that several locations only allow access to ZTrip vehicles and taxi cabs. If every venue operated like Kauffman Stadium, there would be no issues, said Pam Corwin, who drives for Uber.

"They're awsome," Corwin said. "We can go right in the stadium, drop off at a certain point, and then they have an actual lane that, when the game's over, you go in the stadium and you get in this lane, and people know that's where they've got to go and that's where they wait."

The Kansas City Parking and Transportation Commission is aware of the challenges, said Matt Staub, chairman. 

"If there are challenges in the way that you're experiencing, trying to use a service that you prefer, it's not working, we need to know all about that stuff so we can be mindful of it," Staub said. "We can try to find solutions, both in the public right-of-way, and then working with private partners, to try to make it easier." 

Kansas City is in the middle of a dramatic shift in the way people move around the city, and the commission is just trying to stay ahead of it, Staub said.

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