COVID & Unemployment

Will drivers come back to Uber and Lyft?

Matt Levin Jun 1, 2021
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Ride-hailing companies are offering new incentives to attract drivers. LPETTET via Getty Images
COVID & Unemployment

Will drivers come back to Uber and Lyft?

Matt Levin Jun 1, 2021
Heard on:
Ride-hailing companies are offering new incentives to attract drivers. LPETTET via Getty Images
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COPY

Tried getting an Uber or Lyft lately? Be prepared for long wait times and round-the-clock surge pricing. In some cities, the cost of an Uber to the airport could rival the cost of a flight. What’s driving the driver shortage?

Evenings and weekends are busy again for Lyft driver Ignacio Cisneros. “I get rides immediately when I turn on the app. That only means that there’s a shortage in Lyft and Uber drivers,” he said. I waited half an hour for his Chrysler to arrive outside a Sacramento bar.

The ride-hailing companies are offering new incentives to attract drivers, including Lyft’s $1,000 bonus for getting an ex-driver back on the road, which Cisneros said is, “the highest thing I’ve ever seen, realistically.”

Even so, many drivers who switched to food delivery apps during the pandemic aren’t switching back.

“A bag of food will never talk back to you. They’ll never puke in your car,” said Harry Campbell, who runs The Rideshare Guy blog.

And Campbell said there are other reasons drivers aren’t returning: fear of COVID-19, relief payments from the federal government and unemployment benefits.

Riders may be stranded at least through summer. “I don’t think consumers are going to have a lot of choices, to be honest,” Campbell said.

Better make sure your passenger rating is five stars.

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