DETROIT — If you’ve had a hard time catching a Lyft or Uber lately, you’re not alone. Riders have been left feeling stranded waiting for a ride. The reason, a lack of drivers along with increasing demand.
“If I need a ride in 20 minutes I need them to be there,,” said Brittney Denard. "Lately that hasn’t been the case. It’s been a lot of cancellations, a lot of no-shows."
Traffic Anchor Ali Hoxie at FOX 17's sister station WXYZ in Detroit put a call out on Facebook asking if anyone has had issues with Lyft or Uber. Riders commented stating they are having a hard time in Waterford, Clinton Township, Canton, and Wixom.
Uber acknowledges more drivers are needed. “As more Americans are getting vaccinated, cities are opening up and moving to recovery more people are choosing to ride with Uber again,” said Uber policy manager Hayley Prim. "But drivers have not necessarily returned to the platform at the same level."
The company has launched a $250 million temporary stimulus boostto entice more drivers.
Without the stimulus boost, drivers working at least 20 hours a week typically earn $22.50 per hour. With the stimulus boost, drivers working at least 20 hours a week stand to earn $30.41 an hour. These numbers do not include tips.
“We understand the frustration; that is one of the reasons we are launching this initiative,” said Prim. "We want riders to feel comfortable and safe and Uber to still be a reliable and efficient form of transportation, and so that’s why we are making sure an investment in this driver stimulus announcement right now to try and make sure the service level is back to what they are used to."
WXYZ also reached out to Lyft, who sent us the following statement: “We’re seeing big increases in demand for rides, as vaccines roll out and people get ready to start moving again. We’re working to meet demand, including providing incentives to drivers, who are busier and earning more than they were even before the pandemic.”
They went on to state that this last March, Lyft saw a new record for the number of rides and that the second week of March was their busiest week since March of 2020, when the pandemic started.
For those who do not want to wait for an Uber or Lyft, there are still come taxi companies.
“We’ve definitely seen an uptick in our calls from the general public,” said president of Michigan Green Cars Ryan Tobias. He says they are getting more calls from people struggling to find rides with Uber and Lyft. Most of their riders are going to non-emergency medical appointments, the grocery store, and the airport.
Tobias notes there are been a slight uptick in business, but nowhere near pre-pandemic levels. “We are operating at about a third of our total volume prior to March 2020,” said Tobias
Uber and Lyft are not alone in having a hard time finding drivers. Tobias says they too have a lack of drivers.
Transportation experts say this spans to local buses as well.
“DDOT and Smartbus systems have struggled to get and keep enough bus drivers, and that has meant some of the bus routes have not been able to operate everyday as they are suppose to,” said executive director of Transportation Riders United Megan Owens. "And some of that is a matter of people worrying about their health and safety, some of that may be parents that have to stay home to take care of kids in virtual school or don’t have day care, or taking care of sick family members."