As more people are getting their COVID vaccinations, and especially with the CDC saying it’s safe to travel if you’ve gotten your shots, more and more people are traveling. After over a year of staying home, this is wonderful for both travelers and the places they travel to.
Case in point – Las Vegas. In November, when our country’s COVID numbers were so high, hotels stayed closed on weekdays because of a lack of tourists. With shots in arms and the number of cases going down, Vegas is allowing more capacity in a lot of their public places. That, on top of more travel means more people going to Vegas.
Unfortunately, with more people wanting rides, wait times for ride-sharing and taxis have gone through the roof. Recent waits for Ubers and Lyfts at popular locations such as Fremont Street on a Saturday night can be as high as 2 hours.
A big part of the problem is that the amount of drivers hasn’t kept up with the recent influx of tourists. As an example, according to casino.org, there were 36,482 active ride-hailing drivers in Nevada on March 13, 2020. A year later, on March 30, 2021, there were only 13,723.
Ride-hailing companies are blaming Nevada’s regulations, which are that surge pricing can’t be used when there’s a state of emergency (Nevada is still under a state of emergency due to COVID). Surge pricing would allow drivers to make more money, incentivizing them to go back to work (surge pricing is where the money is for drivers. Unemployment benefits are apparently financially better than driving an Uber/Lyft without surge pricing).
A Nevada state senator has recently introduced SB 279. If passed, that law would let ride-sharing companies use surge pricing even during state emergencies.
What about renting a car?
You’d think that would be the solution, right? Nope.
Because of the pandemic, cash-strapped car rental companies sold off their older cars earlier than they normally would, and then didn’t buy new ones to replace them. So car rental companies across the nation, including Las Vegas, have had shortages of vehicles.
Granted, we’re still in the middle of Spring Break season. Once that ends, crowds in Las Vegas might decrease a little. But without ride-sharing drivers having incentives to drive, it might not be the panacea for the problem.
Feature Photo: Public Domain
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary