Uber, Lyft drivers see shortage first hand as riders' wait times go from minutes to hours

Ride share shortage
Posted at 5:52 PM, Jun 04, 2021

CLEVELAND — Health orders ended in Ohio and people are getting back to the social scene, which means rideshare drivers are busier than this time last year.

"Majority of the time it's pretty much there's a lot of passengers," said driver Caleb Camero. "I typically start early in the morning at like 5:00 in the morning and I'll go till 5:00 in the afternoon."

Camero has been driving with Uber since 2018 and started with Lyft in 2020.

"I try to go as far and wide as I possibly can, but definitely a large need for rides at this point," he said about picking up people who use the app-based services. He said downtown Cleveland is usually the busiest spot.

Recently things have been, "busy, I think we're ready to get back to work. Get the Lyft and Uber drivers going."

The need for rideshare services is going up, but so are wait times.

"Last night at about 10:30, we actually waited about 30 minutes on our Uber," Steve Lyman said on Thursday while he was waiting for another pickup downtown.

Joseph Chasar was also out in the city center.

"So many times I tried to do what I needed to do, and they just aren't there when you need them now," he said. "I don't get it."

In April 2021, CEOs for Uber and Lyft said they knew demand was outstripping supply. Drivers aren't coming back as fast, even though people want rides.

"Sometimes people have to wait 30 minutes, 40 minutes, an hour, upwards of two hours," Camero said.

There are some people taking a chance on the rideshare businesses now that states are opening again.

Ahsan Mufleh has only been driving with Uber for a week and he said people are usually nice, but the pay isn't sustainable long-term.

"If I see, like, six people, I'm not getting them in here. They don't -- they're not tipping. And I just bought this van. They're going to ruin it, you know," he said. "They're not leaving a tip. They're going 20 miles for, what, five bucks? You know, three bucks. It's not worth it."

On an earnings call earlier this year, Uber's CEO said drivers are seeing more money because there are fewer drivers on the road. Camero will go where others may not.

"I go as far south -- north. I've gone to Akron, Youngstown," he said. "So it's just there's a there's a large supply, I guess a lot of large need for rides right now."