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Idaho rideshare services seeing shortage of drivers, higher wait times and fares

Many ride-share companies saw a decrease in the demand for ride services during the pandemic, causing drivers to seek work elsewhere.

BOISE, Idaho — Ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft are hoping to attract drivers by providing extra incentives. This comes as a recent driver shortage has caused longer wait times and higher fares for passengers.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many ride-share companies saw a decrease in the demand for such services, causing many drivers to seek work elsewhere.

Joshua Seavey has been driving for Uber and Lyft for two years. Before the pandemic, he was able to make $150-$200 per day very easily. Once the pandemic began, however, that all changed.

"It went down," he said. "I would be lucky to make about $20."

As the country begins to open up, Seavey is still seeing a shortage of drivers. He believes this is because people do not want to have passengers in their car. 

Seavey also believes the shortage is due to people still collecting unemployment, though Gov. Brad Little ended Idaho's participation in federal unemployment programs on June 19.

KTVB reached out to both Lyft and Uber about the driver shortage and higher ride costs. Uber did not respond, but Lyft issued the following statement:

As vaccines rolled out and people started moving again, we began to see the demand for rides outpace the number of available drivers. We've added thousands of drivers in the past few weeks and it's already leading to a better rider experience with wait times down more than 15% nationwide, and down 35% in some major markets.

Seavey said things appear to be turning around and he is now starting to make what he used to make before the pandemic. He recommends not requesting a ride during peak times or scheduling ahead to guarantee a ride.

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