Shortage of Uber drivers in Collier County could affect your wait time

Published: March 30, 2021 5:54 PM EDT
Updated: March 30, 2021 6:30 PM EDT

Waiting around for your Uber driver is becoming more common. WINK News finds out why this is happening and how Uber is working to get your ride to you more quickly.

For many people, rideshare services like Uber are a convenient way to get from point a to point b.

For drivers, like Uber driver Patrick Hoffman, Uber has been a lifeline. “I made a good penny last week,” Hoffman said.

He lost his job over a year and a half ago. “Uber is keeping me above water,” said Hoffman.

With more people eating on Fifth Avenue, shopping on Third Street South and heading to The Naples Pier, there’s an increase in demand yet a shortage of drivers.

“I get one right after another,” Hoffman said. “I’ve had people complain that they’ve waited 30-45 minutes for an Uber to pick them up. And I was the only Uber driver in the area.”

This is something that Jeffery Lopez and his wife have experienced one too many times.

“We find a ride and then we’re sitting there waiting we have reservations and then you get dropped,” said Lopez. “And you’re late for your reservation which the restaurants don’t like… it’s very difficult.”

It’s difficult for those who are visiting Southwest Florida as well.

Laura is one of those visitors. “I tried several different types of Ubers, the UberX Uber green and they just kept you know saying driver unavailable driver unavailable,” she said.

Uber has this to say in a statement:

“As more people are vaccinated, demand from customers has increased which has caused longer wait times. We’re working to bring more drivers and delivery people onto the road.”

Lopez hopes to see more drivers on the road sooner rather than later. “It’s definitely a problem. Particularly this time of year when it’s high season,” he said.

He wants to take that frustration out of date night.

Uber says it is looking for more drivers and hopes that mandating masks during rides will encourage more people to drive for the company.