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Ridesharing Apps Offer Incentives to Drivers Amid Driver Shortages Featured

Ridesharing Apps Offer Incentives to Drivers Amid Driver Shortages "Like a Boss"

As Americans become fully vaccinated and restrictions ease – people are going to make up for loss time. That means Sunday brunches with friends they haven’t seen in over a year, traveling, scheduling doctor appointments that they’ve put off, and returning to work. Businesses will be booming as customers feel comfortable eating inside restaurants and working out in gym for that elusive “summer body.” And if you’re running late and don’t have a car – who you gonna call? An Uber or Lyft Driver. Unless you have a ghost in your home – then you’re better off calling the Ghostbusters.

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.

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 Danielle Loughnane

Danielle Loughnane earned her B.F.A. in Creative Writing from Emerson College and has currently been working in the data science field since 2015. She is the author of a comic book entitled, “The Superhighs” and wrote a blog from 2011-2015 about working in the restaurant industry called, "Sir I Think You've Had Too Much.” In her spare time she likes reading graphic novels and snuggling with her dogs.

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