Uber, Lyft prices continue to increase amid driver shortage, increased demand

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- With most COVID-19 restrictions lifted in our area, more people are looking to get out and have a good time. But those who rely on services like Uber and Lyft to get around are paying more when they order their rides.

"They always complain but they still pay because they know they got to get to point A to point B," said Charlotte McFadden of West Philadelphia.

McFadden drivers for both companies. She says with COVID restrictions being lifted, more people are out and about.

"We are busy. If I turn my app on right now, where I am, I would say less than three minutes I will have a ride, and I usually have a ride lined up before I let my ride off," said McFadden.

Both Uber and Lyft are facing driver shortages. Rakuten, an E-commerce company, says nationally, it is seeing up to a 40% increase in ride-sharing prices.



Experts point directly to more people getting vaccinated and things slowly returning back to normal. It's a case of supply and demand.

"People are going out to retail and enjoying behaviors that they use to. That created a really strong surge in demand and there just weren't the drivers to keep up with that demand, so that is when you see the high prices," said Dave Gill, VP of analytics and insights for Rakuten.

Local riders say they have noticed the changes.

"With both Uber and Lyft I have experienced longer wait times and the prices have been increased since COVID started," said Ethan Levy of Center City.

Some experts say the driver shortage is due to many people looking for better-paying jobs as things slowed during the pandemic. Companies are now working to entice drivers back to the job by offering incentives and better pay.

"With drivers coming back it is incredibly busy and driver earnings are elevated and in some markets have hit all-time highs over the last several months," said John Zimmer, Co-Founder of Lyft.

In a statement, Uber said, "With the city's economy bouncing back and vaccination rates increasing, drivers are returning to Uber in force to take advantage of higher earnings opportunities from our driver stimulus while they are still available."

Riders who rely on the car services are hoping the experience returns to pre-pandemic times.

"You have to plan out in advance if you are even going to get a car at night, especially late at night, which can be frustrating and scary," said Levy.

Prices are expected to drop by the end of the summer. Experts say if you want to pay less, think about biking, walking or using public transportation.
Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.