Why some drivers aren’t returning to rideshare – and how you can benefit
Demand for rideshare trips has jumped over recent months after pandemic restrictions were lifted, and now it seems there aren’t enough drivers to satisfy the higher number of riders. So what’s happened?
Some drivers understandably chose to leave rideshare last year when work dried up. This year, even though more people are now out and about, not all drivers have wanted to return.
There are a number of different reasons behind this decision. We look at a few of these below, and consider how TLC drivers eager to keep driving might be able to turn the current situation to their advantage.
What’s keeping some drivers away?
Drivers have had to be resourceful over the last year, and with people staying at home drivers had to look for alternative work.
Some found new work outside of driving and have since decided to stay where they are. Others took on different kinds of driving work and as home deliveries and online shopping boomed, some have found delivery work to be a reliable way to earn.
Other drivers are receiving support through unemployment payments, the Payment Protection Program or other coronavirus loans and grants.
There are also drivers that are still wary about heading out due to the pandemic, whether because of worries about new strains of the virus, the requirement to wear masks or the fact that passengers refuse to wear one.
We’ve put together some coronavirus resources for TLC drivers here, which includes links to advice on keeping your car clean and advice from Uber on protecting yourself while working.
What’s been happening lately
The knock-on effect of some drivers not coming back to rideshare has led to an increase in fares and more frequent periods of surge pricing.
The TLC estimates the number of drivers in New York has fallen from 79,000 in February 2020 to about 54,000 working for rideshare services in April 2021.
Efforts have since been made to try and tackle the issue. Uber announced a $250m bonus and incentive program back in April to lure back existing drivers and attract those coming to rideshare driving for the first time.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is also working to meet demand, including using Twitter to post information about where to wait for airport pickups.
You can find information for drivers on La Guardia, Newark and JFK airports here (updated July 2021).
What you can do to maximize your earnings
Fewer drivers on the roads means more opportunities to earn. So what are some of the things you can do to up your take home pay?
Tips is the obvious one – we’ve shared some of the things that can lead to higher tips here.
If it suits your lifestyle and you’re able to, driving during the busy periods like weekend nights and rush hour can mean the potential to earn more. There is also the chance to make use of surge pricing.
That said, the advice from rideshare drivers is to use surge pricing wisely. Chasing surge fares around the city isn’t recommended, as there’s no guarantee how long they’ll be in place for. You may turn up at a surge pricing location only to find it’s no longer available. The Uber app will tell you if surge pricing is happening near you, so you don’t have to waste time driving to a surge area a long way away.
It’s also worth thinking about equipment that can help you while driving, such as dash cams, and making sure you’re on a phone plan that’s suited to the time you spend using driver apps.
Ask yourself: Is your car as efficient as it could be? If not, or you’re thinking about investing in a new car, this guide on the best cars for Uber drivers may come in handy.
While not strictly about maximizing your earnings, try to set aside money for taxes as you go to avoid a financial shock later on. As a rideshare driver you’ll qualify for certain tax deductions as well – speak to an accountant if you’re not sure.
The last thing to mention is driver referrals. If you know someone who might benefit from driving for Uber or other platforms, it’s worth making use of the referral schemes available. For example, you can read about how Uber driver referrals work here. INSHUR also offers a referral program where you receive a $25 Amazon gift card for every TLC driver that you introduce who signs up to the INSHUR app. And they’ll get one too! You can find more details, including a unique referral code, directly in the INSHUR app.
At INSHUR, we help drivers get the most out of driving. To make sure you’ve got the right insurance cover and to get a TLC insurance quote in minutes, check out INSHUR now.