WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Uber and Lyft riders in West Palm Beach have noticed a few changes -- from higher prices to longer wait times.
"We used to ride down to Clematis Street, probably $13 bucks a pop, like, each way, and now it's in the 20s, 30s sometimes late at night and it pushes us. Do you really want to take an Uber?" Kyle McQuillian said.
Uber user Kassidy Turner shared the same frustrations.
"I had got into a car accident, so I was Ubering everywhere," Turner said. "It made me late for work, everything, so it was pretty annoying."
The reason is both ride-sharing companies are struggling with a driver shortage and an increase in demand.
Now with less restrictions and more access to COVID-19 vaccines, there's a strong desire to get outside and enjoy a night out on the town.
That's why both companies are now relying on incentives to help reverse this new trend.
Bob Calamia started driving for Uber and Lyft a year and a half ago.
"There's just not enough people that are interested in doing this job," he said.
He added both companies are also competing with unemployment benefits and food delivery companies.
"They're making more money staying home on unemployment then they are coming out and driving beachside," Calamia said. "Most of those guys had a full-time or part-time job."
Uber spokesman Javi Correoso said the company is rolling out a $250 million stimulus package aimed at offering higher pay for drivers.
"Drivers who averaged 20 hours a week driving on the Uber platform are now averaging about $31 on the hour for those drivers who average 20 hours a week," Correoso said. "Prior to the incentives package, that numbers was closer to $24 to $25."
Lyft responded with 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."
While both companies work to curb the shortage, riders can always take advantage of the schedule-a-ride feature to help with reliability issues and minimize wait times.
To find out how to schedule a ride, watch the tutorial below: