Last-minute planners are looking for ways to catch the solar eclipse on Monday, but transportation options to the path of totality are slim.
If a rental car is not already booked, taxi and transportation companies like Uber and Lyft have drivers who say they’re willing to take passengers to southern Oregon.
Lyft driver Melissa Mowery said she knows it’s going to be busy, but she’s ready for the traffic.
“I got my music. I’m kind of a Chatty Cathy and I like meeting new people so it kind of works for me,” said Mowery.
Cab drivers say they’re reminding customers that they might have to sit in gridlocked traffic.
“I think I will take more water in my car. If the customer needs it, I’m going to share for free,” said Valery Korotin, who drives for Broadway Cab.
A driver for Amanda’s Taxi in Salem said they’ll be charging $150 from Portland International Airport to Salem, instead of the normal $100.
They say the rate will climb to $30 per hour after two hours of being stuck in traffic.
Some drivers say they are going to avoid the chaos completely.
“I am going to stick with the day job and stay inside where it’s safe and not get trapped on the road for six hours,” said Cynthia Tolle, who plans to stay inside on Monday.
Airport officials said there will be 14,000 more passengers this weekend, compared to the norm this time of year.
Cab drivers say the traffic is good for business, to an extent.
“I’m expecting more people but I’m scared it’s gonna be a big collapse. All freeways are gonna be packed,” said Korotin.
An employee at another Salem taxi company, Willamette Valley Yellow Cab, said they offered their entire fleet of 80 drivers the chance to drive on Sunday night. Their rates will remain the same.
They said the company would normally have four to seven drivers on the road.
The message from many transportation companies is the same: Plan ahead several hours.
Most say there is too much uncertainty to plan for an event like this.
Lyft is offering promo code: PDXECLIPSE17 to riders attending viewing parties. The offer is $10 off two rides, to and from the following viewing parties: Beaverton City Library Fort Vancouver National Historic Site Hillsboro Shute Park Library Lake Oswego Library and Parks & Recreation viewing party @ Sundeleaf Plaza OMSI Partial Solar Eclipse Viewing Party Portland Children's Museum Viewing Party Eclipse Experience at Tom McCall Waterfront Park Tualatin Public Library Vancouver Community Library West Linn Public Library West Slope Community LibraryUber says they’re encouraging their drivers to get out on the road and benefit from the event.
As always, ride sharing apps will be more expensive when ride requests are high.
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