A Lowcountry Uber driver is sounding the alarm that the ridesharing app doesn’t have enough drivers as more bars and restaurants begin to reopen statewide.
The driver, John, who asked ABC News 4 to only use his first name, said some Uber riders tell him they’re waiting nearly half an hour to get picked up.
“I’ve literally had people text me through the app. “‘Please don’t cancel on me. I will tip you. Just pick me up, I want to go home,'” he said.
John said it’s not the first time he has received a message like this one.
“We don’t get paid for the ride to the person, so a lot of the drivers that are out are actually cancelling on the ride because it’s not worth driving 25 minutes to pick someone up and get like $4.00 for it,” he added.
Uber cut 3,000 jobs from its workforce on Monday, according to the Associated Press. This is the second wave of layoffs that has happened in two weeks and the company has cut a quarter of its workforce since the year began.
Apart from a financial concern, John said this issue is a personal one.
“I mainly do this because I lost three of my closest friends in high school from drinking and driving. Being hit by a drunk driver. If this was around back then, they might still be alive. Who knows?” he said.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) echoed that message Monday, urging people to make a plan before going out as reopenings continue.
“Even before there was ridesharing, it was unbelievably important that everybody makes the right decision and finds some way to get home safely,” said Steven Burritt MAAD, S.C. Executive Director.
John said he’s seen activity on social media that suggests drivers are taking advantage of unemployment benefits during COVID-19.
“If the issue is brought to our attention, we’re always going to give the individual a chance to tell their side of the story before the benefits are cut off,” Todd Timmons, chief legal officer of the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce said.
We asked the department how unemployment is monitored in the state.
“You do a weekly certification and then, at a certain point in time, we will be auditing these claims,” Timmons said.
Still, John said he contacted ABC News 4 with hopes of getting more drivers back on the app.
Uber has not responded to ABC News 4’s request for comment.