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As pandemic continues, delivery services and ride providers face shortage of drivers

The shortage of drivers can be attributed to a number of things: unemployment benefits and people being concerned about being in direct contact with others
Updated: Apr. 29, 2021 at 12:49 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Thanks to on-demand ride services, getting from point A to point B, or even getting a sandwich from your favorite restaurant isn’t as tough as it has been in years past — until recently.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put an increased need on the relativity new services like Uber and Lyft, as well as the tried-and-true car services like taxis.

When businesses first started shutting down and amending their services last year in response to Governor Roy Cooper’s executive orders, businesses like Door Dash and Uber Eats became a lifeline for restaurants struggling to stay open. However, that put a new demand on the food delivery companies — who at times, struggle to find drivers.

Social media posts highlight the frustration of customers who have been unable to get a driver, or have faced steep rates for short trips.

David Caris has worked for DoorDash for the past year since the pandemic started as a side job, and he says he has seen an increase in demand for drivers; however, it is dependent on the day of the week.

“On a Saturday night when everyone is out partying I definitely want to say there is a demand for some more drivers but on, like, a Wednesday night, you only need so many drivers,” he said.

DoorDash’s corporate media relations admitted there have been some increased wait times due to demand — and even suggested people just order for pickup instead of waiting on a driver to get their food for them.

“Due to increased demand and in order to maintain the high quality of service to customers, merchants and Dashers, some customers may temporarily experience longer delivery times and limited availability of stores further away. We are actively working to revert to our standard selection of restaurants as quickly as possible, and recommend customers switch to Pickup if available to see more selection near them while avoiding the wait and skipping the line,” the company said in an email.

It’s not just food delivery services that have faced challenges due to COVID, taxi services have also seen an increase in demand, as well as other issues.

We are seeing a demand from Uber not having as many drivers, we have a great crew of drivers, but we are understaffed. Our crew is working really hard to try and cover the demand, but we are in need of more drivers,” Heather Lequire of Port City Taxi said.

The shortage of drivers can be attributed to a number of things, she said, including people being concerned about the virus and being in direct contact with others. She also attributes part of it to unemployment benefits.

“There are a lot of people who are on unemployment and they are kind of riding that out until they don’t have to anymore,” she said.

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