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Heads Up: Be Prepared For Uber and Lyft Shortages Right Now

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Today Business Travel News reported on a driver shortage causing a shortage of Uber and Lyft ride options for travelers -- including business travelers.

(By the way, I learned about this article in the BTN Daily, which according to BTN is “as essential as morning coffee, BTN Daily delivers industry news to your inbox every day.” I wouldn’t say it’s as essential as my two daily coffees, but it’s free and I recommend subscribing for relevant news like this rideshare shortage!)

Demand for ride hailing services is returning, in fact AmTrav expense partner Abacus reported that clients expensed 26% more ride hailing services in March vs. February 2021. Problem is, as reported by Uber in a regulatory filing: “As vaccination rates increase in the United States, we are observing that consumer demand for Mobility is recovering faster than driver availability.” Lyft shared a similar statement with BTN.

More would-be riders than available drivers means riders can’t find rides. Uber and Lyft have both announced incentives to attract new drivers and win back previous drivers, but shortages could continue.

AmTrav’s advice for travel administrators: let your travelers know about this! Other transport options include travelers’ own vehicles, rental cars (though rental cars have their own challenges right now) and of course taxis!

Yes, taxis! I learned about the ride sharing shortage on a Monday afternoon in March returning from a quick trip to see freshly-vaccinated grandparents. My four year old and I landed in Boston after an uneventful flight, but Uber showed no rides available and the Lyft we booked showed 15 minutes away before canceling on us (pre-COVID you could get a ride in minutes at Boston). So we went back to the cab stand, hopped in a taxi and the four year old snoozed as we enjoyed a windows-down ride home on that sunny afternoon.

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