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Rideshare Services Like Lyft, Uber Struggle To Get Drivers Behind The Wheel

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - Rideshare Apps are desperate for drivers. The pandemic has slowed travel so much that companies like Uber and Lyft are struggling to get workers behind the wheel and customers in the cars.

Avid adventurer Ricky Reed finds himself at Sacramento International Airport often. He typically uses a rideshare app to get from the airport to Elk Grove.

"It's normally about $30," Reed said.

But since the start of the pandemic, prices are through the roof.

"They've been up for me in the $130 to $140 dollar range. When it went to $130/$140, I took a taxi," Reed said.

Demand for ride-hailing plunged during the pandemic. Uber and Lyft lost millions of dollars as customers sat at home, though one company was able to stay afloat with food. From last March, the food delivery service Uber Eats jumped 150% in revenue, and drivers noticed, switching over from dropping off travelers to dropping off take out. This left longer wait times and higher prices for ride service requests.

"It's around $40 for a ride. I am surprised," said Philip Davis, who's new to Sacramento.

We reached out to Uber to ask about their lack of drivers. A company spokesperson wrote back saying, in part:

"With the economy bouncing back, drivers are returning to Uber in force… More drivers coming back has led to a modest decrease in wait times."

 The company also claimed that as more people get vaccinated, drivers are expected to feel more comfortable behind the wheel, helping to balance the demand for drivers and the supply.

Uber has also partnered with companies like Walgreens to get their drivers vaccinated, in hopes of building up their fleet further.

CBS13 reached out to Lyft for comment. The company said they are offering incentives to their drivers in hopes of growing their workforce.

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