For years, Uber posed a serious challenge to rental car companies. The convenience and comparative low cost made Uber and other rideshare companies a cool, welcome alternative to traditional rental car companies. 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.
Dude, 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 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 is facing a labor shortage. During the early days of the pandemic, a lot of the company’s driver’s pivoted to food delivery. It makes sense. People were not going out and take out became a reliable way to keep drivers busy and safe!
Now, with people back to more social events and travel, the pendulum swung back the other way. And Uber doubly felt the crunch this summer, when the lack of rental cars available to customers made the pressure on Uber drivers even greater.
Because a lot of Uber drivers work for other rideshare companies, they can also pick and choose from which rides and services offer the best fare. If you’ve waited for a driver and mid-wait, had the driver change on you this is likely what happened. Your driver probably got a better offer on his way to get you!
What are your options?
This all adds up to an annoying situation for potential customers who got used to a much more reliable level of service for Uber. For now at least, your best bet might be to go old school for some situations. We have some suggestions.
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 (New York, Chicago come to mind). When your trip doesn’t require much driving and the weather’s good – a rideshare here and there make sense.
Car Rental Works Best for Some Situations
If you’re traveling to a destination like Los Angeles that’s more spread out 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 and the demand is not creating the shortages that were rampant as car rental companies dealt with a car and staffing shortage.
If you had been foregoing rental cars for a while, you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise. The need for contactless service has made the old, painfully slow pickup process much faster, so you can usually start the pickup process from your phone and essentially just grab your keys and go from most rental desks.
Remember the Taxi!
Don’t underestimate the convenience of the good old-fashioned taxi, either! Especially if you’re caught in a downpour or are rethinking a long walk, catching a cab can still be a great option
Let us know what you think! Have you personally experienced these service issues from Uber and would you be open to renting a car for your next trip? Let us know in the comments below! And if you would like to rent a car, you can also reserve with CheapAir.com. Check it out!