When ferrying passengers to and from Phoenix’s airport, Uber driver Michelle Blandy had a decision to make: Go the short way or take the longer route.

“If they were from out of town, I would take advantage of it by going the longer route,” said Ms. Blandy, who drove for Uber for about two years before moving to Harrisburg, Pa., earlier this year. “It’s the only way I could get what I was owed.”

Longhauling is among the tactics used by some drivers of Uber and Lyft Inc. to maximize their take, reflecting the strained relationship between the contract workers and the companies over pay.

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