Some parts of the country are experiencing a shortage of Uber and Lyft drivers, making it almost impossible to get a ride when you need one. The ride sharing shortage is definitely a problem in Utica, Rome and the Mohawk Valley, and while the companies are trying to recruit new drivers, there are some things you can do that might help.

One person complained that she and her husband wanted a simple night on the town in Rome and didn't want to drive. It was the weekend and there's wasn't an Uber or Lyft driver anywhere to be found. They ended up not going out.

Another person uses Uber to get to work from the New Hartford area. Last year during the pandemic, there were always multiple cars available when he went to work in the early morning hours. Now, often times there are no cars available forcing him to look for alternative transportation to get to work.

In Herkimer County, it's actually even worse because of all of the rural area. Many times, there are no drivers to be found.

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There are a few options to solve the problem and one is Uber Scheduling. The app allows you to schedule up to 30-days in advance. Furthermore, if you schedule at least 60-minutes out, the rate you're given will be locked in. For the most part, this service works well, however one person complained that after scheduling the ride on a Friday night, the car never arrived on Saturday morning. That's a problem, but it's not common.

Another option is the new "Ride by the Hour" feature where you can reserve an Uber by the hour, and make multiple stops. It's kind of like having your own driver who will wait while you run an errand, and then take you to the next stop.

Another way to solve the problem is if you need to be somewhere by 7 a.m., don't wait until 6:40 to grab the car. If you're desperate, start really early and keep refreshing the request. You might have to head in to work very early, but at least you'll get there.

There's also a new feature in select cities (not our region yet), that will allow you to request your favorite Uber driver. Tip them well and make plans for future trips and most likely, they'll be there when you need them.

Finally, the problem with driver shortages is the same problem every employer is having in America. With boosted unemployment checks and stimulus payments, it's harder to get people to work these days. Both Uber and Lyft claim they're both working to incentivize people to drive in an effort to squelch the current shortage.


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