From chicken wings to workers, even Chick Fil A sauces, it seems there’s a shortage of everything right now. You can add ride-share drivers to that long list, as Business Insider reports, the ride-hailing giants Uber and Lyft face a driver shortage. As with all supply-and-demand chains, that means higher fares for users.
Uber and Lyft are lacking drivers for the same reason as restaurants are lacking workers; the pay and working conditions suck and there’s better work to go around. The country is opening back up thanks to the success of the COVID-19 vaccines and travel is starting again. Drivers either stopped working for the ride-share companies due to the pandemic or the low pay, or both. As a result, fares are up 40 percent over last year and, due to the driver shortage, driver earnings are higher than ever. From Business Insider:
Lyft’s Zimmer said during the May earnings call that in some markets, average hourly driver earnings had reached “all-time highs,” and were up 85% compared with pre-pandemic.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said on May 5 that drivers in some US cities were making more than $40 per hour.
One Uber rider in Miami, who usually budgeted $100 a month for rides, has already found herself through half her budget for the month with just one ride. I recently took a Lyft a couple of weeks ago when my car was getting serviced. Lyft wanted $22 to go 0.76 miles to the local burger place or offered a $3 discount for a long wait. That meant I would’ve had to wait nearly 40 minutes for another driver to save a few dollars.
To right things, Uber is incentivizing drivers to rejoin its apps. The company is spending $250 million to get drivers back behind the wheel. It seems to be working, as Uber says 100,000 have rejoined. Lyft is in a more wait-and-see mode saying it thinks drivers will come back as COVID-19 fears ease and unemployment benefits end.