Uber, Lyft prices surge amid driver shortage, demand for service

An Uber and Lyft driver shortage is causing higher prices and longer wait times.

"A few weeks ago the app said it would cost me $100 to go two miles," one woman told FOX 5.

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It comes as cities are reopening and more people are going out and using ride sharing apps.

"The five minutes or less wait times that you might see in a typical city, you’re seeing 15, 20, 30 even 45 minutes because of so few drivers and so many rides coming in," Chris Gerace, a contributor for the blog Ride Share Guy said.

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Gerace says the driver shortage was caused by a combination of things. He says the big reason there’s a lack of ride share drivers is because of the increased federal unemployment benefits causing people not to come back to work. Gerace also says many drivers still don’t feel safe to return. Additionally, some drivers switched to grocery, food and other delivery services during the pandemic and don’t want to return to ride share services.

"It’s kind of created this perfect storm rolled into this rollercoaster ride. It’s basically coming down to supply in demand. So demand for rides are up as restrictions are loosening and people want to go out and right now drivers are not coming back to the platform as quickly as rides are happening," he said.

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However, Uber and Lyft are trying to fix the problem. They’re offering cash bonuses and income guarantees for drivers.

"That could look like, ‘if you give three rides you’ll get $100 bonus or if you give a 100 rides you’ll make $6,000 in earnings guaranteed," Gerace said.

Still Gerace says it will take some time for prices and wait times to go down

"It’s going to last several more months while this equilibrium is out of whack but once it is equalized again that’s when you’re going to see normal rates, normal wait times all returned back to where they were pre-pandemic," he said.

Gerace estimates pre-pandemic prices will return by September.