Uber and Lyft drivers see high demand in riders

Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 6:11 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Rideshare companies are noticing a severe shortage of drivers both nationally and locally. They believe the recent demand comes as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues.

Over the last few months, people have been receiving their COVID-19 vaccinations and are becoming more comfortable using Ubers and Lyfts again. But this high demand is causing people to have trouble finding rides, and they are seeing longer wait times.

“It definitely makes it more difficult to plan especially if you’re going out in the town, you might have to plan ahead for a [designated sober driver],” Uber and Lyft rider Erin Bly said.

Uber told WDBJ7 in a statement: As more people are vaccinated, demand from customers has increased which has caused longer wait times. We’re working to bring more drivers and delivery people onto the road, and for anyone interested, now is a great chance to earn money flexibly on your own schedule.

Lyft shared a similar statement that says: “We’re seeing big increases in demand for rides, as vaccines roll out and people get ready to start moving again.”

“There are more riders now, we’re just getting new riders all the time,” Lyft Driver Allen Mayhue said.

Mayhue said this shortage is a serious issue for riders.

“I had a young man, he needed to get to work last night. He told me he was really concerned, if I hadn’t come, he would just have to call in and not go to work because he works a long way from where he lives ... I’m concerned about it, I’m driving as much as I can but I can only do so much,” Mayhue said.

The ride-hailing apps in Roanoke even have no rides available at times. Mayhue said he’s had passengers tell him they had struggled to find a ride from the airport until his car showed up on the app.

“According to the people I picked up, I rescued them from having to spend all night at the airport, that’s happened several times,” Mayhue said.

“I do think it’s an issue and just there’s already so much uncertainty that everyone has been experiencing for the last year so having that uncertainty is another inconvenience,” Bly added.

Mayhue said the only real solution is for more people to sign up and drive.

“Lyft is offering a very good payout for people to drive,” he said.

Uber and Lyft also are requiring the use of masks for drivers and riders to make sure people feel safe while riding.

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