"Schedule a trip." Rideshare drivers urge planning ahead of busy Memorial Day weekend due to shortage

Posted at 6:24 PM, May 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-28 09:12:53-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — With Memorial Day right around the corner, those planning to go out may want to plan ahead.

Rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft are continuing to experience a driver shortage due to the pandemic.

"There are not enough drivers out there and we're working our tails off," said Patrick Houston.

Houston has been driving with Uber for the last four years. Since the pandemic, he's stayed pretty busy with the lack of rideshares on the road.

"Prices are surging a lot all of the time, other states not so much. Since this is a tourist city, you're trying to provide rides for the population plus everyone that wants to come here and have fun," said Houston.

Both Uber and Lyft tell News 5 that there is an increased demand for rideshares at the moment.

"As Colorado moves to fully reopening, we’re seeing riders return to Uber. And we’re seeing demand grow at a faster pace than our driver supply. We are currently working to get drivers back onto the road—announcing in April a $250 million stimulus. This stimulus included higher wages and guaranteed incentives. We’re hoping that these financial incentives will bring drivers back to the platform and respond to increased demand."
Uber Spokesperson
"We’re seeing big increases in demand for rides, as vaccines roll out and people 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."
Lyft Spokesperson

The shortage increasing demand, but there is one problem.

"A lot of people are hitting the button and getting no available drivers," said Houston.

While there may be a multitude of reasons for the shortage, Houston says it has to do with the extra unemployment cash.

"Regardless of what anyone says, that is a real thing. I watched a video of a guy who was like I'm making $12 an hour on unemployment why would I go back for $15 and have to work," said Houston.

Uber drivers aren't the only ones feeling the impacts of the shortage.

"It's been lovely, it's non-stop ordered. I'm pulling a lot of money daily which helps out a lot," said Roderick Harris, Uber Eats Driver.

Harris has been working as an Uber Eats driver for the last few months. With the lack of workers, he says it can be tough to get orders to customers in a timely manner.

"If you have a big order be a little bit generous with the tips. It always helps and you never know what we are going through, this might be the only job or income that they have," said Harris. "Be patient because with fewer drivers I might have to go over here to pick up this order and drive all of the ways over here to get this order. I will let you know when I'm coming but it's important to be patient."

To help ease the shortage of drivers, both Uber and Lyft are offering a variety of incentives.

"Every day they've been giving us a bonus. So if I drive between 12 o'clock to 1 o'clock that's a bonus, and then 1 o'clock to 2 o'clock that's another bonus. The bonus keeps coming," said Harris.

"The incentives that they do is an extra $3 per trip for the downtown Colorado Springs area," said Houston.

Both drivers expect a busy Memorial Day weekend, and urge customers to plan ahead.

"If you know you are going somewhere, put it in as a scheduled trip," said Houston.