Uber and Lyft: Long rideshare waits due to high traffic

How long have you waited for a ride in Duluth? Summer is here and Duluth’s tourist season is underway, and that increased tourist traffic means finding a ride in the Twin Ports might be harder.

“During the day it seems to be more of an issue because I think a lot of drivers just want to do that bar crowd and the late nights and stuff like that,” said Amanda Kane, an Uber driver in Duluth. “I’ve gotten a lot of times during the day that they have a hard time finding a driver to pick them up and then right around bar closed or when a lot of people start going towards the bar, it gets harder to find drivers. But other than that, there’s been times I’ve dropped off a rider and then the next rider be right there and I haven’t even pulled away and I’ll get a request for them.”

To see just how hard it is to get a ride, our reporter requested a ride from our station to Duluth’s Canal Park. After a fifteen minute wait, no drivers were available. After calling for a ride the second time, this time an UberXL–Uber’s option for a larger vehicle and more expensive ride–a driver accepted the ride in less than five minutes.

Kane said her days are busy. Warm, sunny weather means more and more riders in the Twin Ports.

“We can set up our app where it will automatically accept the ride,” said Kane. “And half the time I won’t even notice that I have multiple rides in the queue and I’ll drop somebody off and it’ll start giving me directions to the next place. And you’re like, Oh, I’ve been doing this for 2 hours and I haven’t touched my phone. Maybe I should sign off for a little bit because I think maybe I should go to the bathroom.”

Another Uber driver we spoke with said driver compensation used to be better. When Uber first came to Duluth in 2017, drivers took home seven out of every 10 dollars customers spent. Now, that driver said Uber takes more than half the fair, making customers’ tips all the more important for drivers.

“Just keep in mind that the price you guys pay for Ubers isn’t what we get as drivers,” said Kane. “So tipping is really important. It’s not expected but it is super awesome to get that couple extra bucks. Because you may pay $40 for a ride and we’re only seeing 15 of it.”