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Rideshare Customers Frustrated By Driver Shortage

BOSTON (CBS) – With the COVID-19 vaccine going into many more arms, people are venturing out again, but finding a ride with companies like Uber and Lyft – not so easy.

"It's obviously very annoying because I don't have a way to get from Point A to Point B," said David Lappin of Boston.

It's frustrating for passengers hitting a shortage of ride-sharing drivers willing to pick them up.

"Around 9 o'clock, no Ubers come. And if you're lucky, maybe around 4 in the morning," said Maria Ponce of Boston. "What if I want to go home at 11 and there aren't Ubers to take me home?"

"On the weekdays it's very busy," one ride-sharing driver told us.

Uber spokeswoman, Alix Anfang, told WBZ-TV that it's been difficult getting drivers back on the road. The state banned surge pricing during a state of emergency, money that goes directly to drivers. The company said that typically applies to weather emergencies, like snowstorms, not a yearlong pandemic.

"It allows riders to have access to reliable transportation which they're not able to do right now," said Anfang. "You hear about long wait times, sometimes you can't get a ride at all. It allows drivers to earn more during busy times."

It's been a major inconvenience for restaurant workers, many who head home well after the last train of the night.

"It's been difficult. The ride shares aren't running at full capacity like they used to and as we know the T usually ends at 12:30 to 1:00am so it's been difficult getting home after a shift," said Darrin Watson, bartender at Deuxave.

Uber has set aside $250 million in stimulus in an effort to encourage more drivers to get back on the road.

"If you are an Uber driver in Massachusetts, you are making in the mid-$20s an hour on average. With the stimulus, we anticipate that drivers will make closer to $30 per hour," said Anfang.

Whether you're eager to get home or to head out, the demand for a ride is going up. And for now – so is the wait to get picked up.

"I think if they had an incentive to start driving, people would start doing it. And then I can go from South Boston to a bar," said Lappin.

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