You’re not going to want to wait until the last minute to call a driver. In a recent blog post, Uber’s vice president of U.S. & Canada Mobility stated they lost “many drivers” in 2020 amid the pandemic. Lyft is in the same boat, as many drivers opted to stay home due to safety concerns while others weren’t making nearly enough money due to a shortage of riders.
In fact a Business Insider article written at the start of the pandemic found those who do drive for the rideshare app saw their income plummet 50-80% in just one month. In the article, a driver named Daniel told the Business Insider that prior to the pandemic he would make close to $1,000 per week driving in Edmonds, Washington. A month into the pandemic he stated he made just a measly $16 per week. Due to his low income – he decided to quite driving for the rideshare company.
While some drivers switched to delivery apps such as UberEats, GrubHub, and Instacart – others have stopped driving altogether. While some may return to driving fulltime for rideshare apps – others have found other jobs in the workforce.
In an effort to ramp up drivers in time for the summer both Uber and Lyft have offered drivers incentives to get them back to work. Uber has offered a $250 million stimulus to get both new and old drivers to drive for the app. Lyft announced that they would pay out $800 bonuses among other incentives to drivers. Both Uber and Lyft claim that their drivers are making more money now than they ever have due to the increase demand of rides.
But many drivers may be hesitant to return to their old jobs. Covid cases continue to rise despite vaccinations and even before Covid - driving for rideshare companies came with risk. Recently a Ghanaian Lyft driver in St. Louis was murdered while on the job. In addition, there have been plenty of instances where drivers were put in dangerous situations.
Uber and Lyft have also been in the news prior to the pandemic for over saturating cities with drivers causing drivers to make less than minimum wage. A study commissioned by the city of Seattle found that rideshare drivers made roughly $9.70 per hour – almost $7 less than the city’s minimum wage of $16.39.
It’s too early to tell whether or not the rideshare giants’ incentives will work in luring drivers back to work – but it is a start. With over 75 million Americans vaccinated – it couldn’t come at a better time.