Is Uber Failing Customers? Why More Business Travelers are Pivoting Back to Rental Cars
by Shannon Marvin, on September 27, 2021
For years, Uber posed a serious challenge to rental car companies. The convenience and comparative low cost made Uber and other rideshare companies a welcome alternative to renting a car when it might just be sitting in a hotel parking garage racking up fees for the duration of a trip. But recently, customers report increasing issues with the once-easy app that, coupled with health and safety concerns, make renting a car a more attractive option once again.
Where’s My Ride? There’s a Serious Driver Shortage
It used to be that a customer could expect a 5-10 minute wait (at most) for an inexpensive Uber to show up. Of course, if you requested a lift during a rainstorm or on New Year’s Eve (times the rideshare companies call “surge” periods), you’d wait longer and pay more.
But now, Uber has become increasingly unreliable, with riders reporting excruciatingly long waits, and even worse, sometimes no Uber at all. The problem here is that if Uber makes you late to an appointment or to catch a flight through no fault of your own, you lose confidence in the service.
So what's going on with Uber?
Like a lot of companies right now, Uber faces a severe labor shortage. During the early days of the pandemic, a lot of the company’s drivers pivoted to food delivery. It made sense. Take out became a reliable way to keep drivers busy and safe.
Now, with people coming back to business travel, the pendulum swung back the other way. And Uber doubly felt the crunch this summer when the lack of rental cars available, coupled with much higher demand, made the pressure on Uber drivers even greater.
Because a lot of Uber drivers also work for other rideshare companies, they can pick and choose which rides and services offer the best fare. Passengers increasingly report that mid-wait for a driver, the driver changed completely. When this happens, it’s usually because the driver got a better offer on his way to the pickup. Ouch!
So what are your options?
This all adds up to annoying (and sometimes costly) aggravation for you and your company. Customers are used to a much more reliable level of service from Uber. For now at least, your best bet might be to stick with the rental car or taxi route.
You can still leverage Uber and ridesharing, especially when you’re going to a city with a reliable mass transit system, prohibitively expensive parking, or no general need for a rental car (teammates carpooling to a conference, for example). When your trip doesn’t require much driving and the weather’s good - a rideshare here and there make sense.
Otherwise, you might want to spring for a car rental. Rental car prices were through the roof this past summer, but those prices are starting to come back in line. The demand is no longer creating the shortages that were rampant as car rental companies dealt with their own vehicle and staffing shortages.
If you or your company have been foregoing rental cars for a while, you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise. The need for contactless service has made the old, sometimes painfully slow pickup process much faster. In many cases, you can usually start the pickup process from your phone and essentially just grab your keys and go from most rental desks.
Booking a car with AmTrav couldn’t be easier. We’re ready to help!