Passengers flock back to Uber, Lyft

Uber said yesterday that March was its best month ever. The company credited its food delivery business, but ride-sharing is coming back, too. Last month, more people used services like Uber and Lyft than at any time since the pandemic started. As we reported last week, both companies are facing a shortage of drivers in the face of growing demand.

Austin, Texas-based Steven Sharifi is among those who went more than a year without getting in an Uber or a Lyft. After getting his second dose of the vaccine, however, he started “feeling comfortable riding again.”

“At first it was a familiar yet unfamiliar feeling where I was like, ‘Oh, this still feels a little bit weird,’ but I’ve done a few more … now I’m kind of feeling more comfortable doing it.” Sharifi is far from alone.

“We’re seeing ride demand track closely with vaccination rates,” said John Zimmer, co-founder and president of Lyft. “There’s just an incredible amount of demand. We’re seeing longer rides than normal. We’re seeing people go out to restaurants, see sports and things like that.”

That’s the case in Dallas, Texas where Edmund Vereault drives for Uber a couple of days a week. He’s been taking people to all of those places: restaurants, bars, Texas Rangers games. “Also a lot of business,” he said, “starting to pick up business people again from the airport.”

Vereault said business has really picked up in the last couple of months. “It’s not uncommon for certain times of the day on certain days to have back-to-back-to-back rides,” he said. Vereault said he made $41 an hour in March compared to $23 an hour last November.

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