Correction: Uber is donating a portion of each fare received during a state of emergency to the American Red Cross. The company provided incorrect information on the amount donated for the original version.
Lots of snow is expected to coat local roads this weekend. Juliet Ayebale is one Lyft driver who won't be on them.
"I'm not a huge fan of driving in the snow," she said Thursday afternoon.
Ayebale has been driving for Lyft for about two months, she said, and has not yet dealt with winter weather.
UberX driver Shai Komemi, on the other hand, plans to be transporting passengers unless the roads become impassable.
"I'm used to it," he said. "I used to be a taxi driver. The secret is to drive slowly and be very conscientious."
The ride-hailing services will have drivers on the streets through the weekend, representatives from Uber and Lyft said, and they expect business to be strong.
"During a snowstorm, demand definitely goes up," said Craig Ewer, spokesman for Uber.
Meteorologists are predicting Philadelphia will get 10 to 16 inches of snow from Friday night into Sunday, according to the National Weather Service, which described "blizzard conditions" ahead. With roads snowy, sidewalks slippery, and cars plowed in, getting someone else to do the driving sounds like an appealing alternative.
Uber prices may be raised during the storm, Ewer said, to encourage drivers to work. The company will review surge pricing over the last two months, he said, and may set its rate at that of the fourth-highest surge day.
This weekend's rate has not been determined. Ewer said Uber has an agreement with the Red Cross to donate a portion of total fare receipts to the organization.
Lyft will not raise its rates during the storm, said spokeswoman Katie Dally.
"We will be not changing our pricing in any way," Dally said. "There will be no dynamic increases."
Lyft charges a base rate of $2.68 plus $1.10 per mile, or 18 cents per minute. There is a $5 minimum per ride.
Neither company would predict how many of its drivers would be available to pick up passengers this weekend. Drivers work on their own schedules, the representatives said, and have no obligation to drive.
UberX reported about 12,000 drivers in Philadelphia. Lyft does not disclose the number of drivers offering its service in the city, Dally said.
Both companies will monitor the storm's progress and can message drivers throughout the weekend to notify them of weather conditions and forecasts, representatives said.
"If conditions change or worsen, we will be in touch with them," Dally said.
Despite their popularity, UberX and Lyft operate in Philadelphia illegally. The Philadelphia Parking Authority has said the services refuse the PPA oversight that regulates other livery services. A spokesman for the Parking Authority, Martin O'Rourke, said city cabs were expected to keep running through the weekend, as would UberBlack and UberSUV, which are licensed by the PPA.
"If streets are open, cabs are running," O'Rourke said.
Komemi said he hoped winter weather, combined with Uber's boosted rates, would mean a profitable weekend.
After eight years driving for Old City Taxi, he said he does not expect to be deterred by snow, though he said he would go home if the storm became too severe. Mostly, Komemi said, he was worried about other drivers on the road.
"You have to be careful of the SUVs," he said as he navigated Market Street on Thursday afternoon. "They're the crazy ones. They're four-by-four. They think they can do anything they want."