In many locations around the world, people are finally seeing the restrictions that kept them stuck indoors being lifted as the coronavirus pandemic begins to ease. As more and more people are getting out, many are noticing a shortage of workers across various industries as many continue to choose to stay home rather than return to the traditional workforce. As a result, ridesharing services, including Uber and Lyft, face a significant shortage of drivers just as more people are out and about looking for rides. In recent weeks, customers for both companies have reported long wait times and high prices.
According to reports, Uber and Lyft ride prices were up 40 percent ahead of the Memorial Day holiday as more people traveled amid the easing of restrictions. As restrictions have eased, people are also starting to take their traditional summer vacations. One traveler reported that the Uber ride from Midtown to JFK in New York cost as much as his flight from JFK to SFO.
People looking for rides are also facing increasingly high wait times, with some reporting waits as long as 45 minutes and rides costing more than twice what they would have before the pandemic. Customers are experiencing long wait times across the country. A spokesman for Lyft says the company is working to meet demand, including providing incentives to drivers.
Lyft also said in a recent earnings call that it was focusing on increasing the number of available drivers to meet the surge in demand. Uber has also confirmed that it is experiencing a driver shortage, noting that many of its drivers stopped working during the pandemic. It recently announced a $250 million incentive package to get more drivers back to work. A spokesman for Uber recently stated that drivers who averaged 20 hours a week driving on its platform are making an average of about $31 per hour. Before the new incentives package, they were making around $24-$25 per hour.