There has been an unpredictable fluctuation when it comes to rideshare apps providing consistent service to riders. Since the start of pandemic, customers say there's been a decrease in drivers meeting the demand of riders.
”I've learned over the past couple years that most of those taxi services are no longer running in the area," said Joshua Fernandez de la Vega, chairman for CARPOOL."So it really seems to be down to Uber and Lyft, as well as us. Any alternatives outside of that is having a designated driver that you can call a friend on,”
CARPOOL is an organization created by Texas A&M to transport students around the Bryan-College Station area at no cost. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, this service has been canceled, leaving rideshare options up to Uber and Lyft.
”Yes, I mean personally I don’t know any Uber or Lyft drivers," said freshman Miles Huffhines. "So I'm sure that the demand here is pretty high, and there’s not a whole lot of people doing it."
Some students say the demand for rideshare is greater than the number of drivers, especially at night.
”I mean since there’s not that many drivers, I'm sure that Northgate, there’s going to be some people there that their rides never show up, so that doesn’t surprise me at all,” Huffhines added.
The Brazos Transit District operates from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m., while the Texas A&M Bus Charter runs from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m.
So what happens when rideshare apps fail to meet the communities needs? One Brazos Valley resident, who asked to remain unnamed, said she was left alone at night with no drivers in sight. She also had no backup way to get home.
”There’s been really, like, late times in the night, you know 2 o'clock, 3 o'clock in the morning where it’s hard to get an Uber," said Texas A&M student Jack Hartung. "Just because, you know, not everyone wants to drive at 2 o'clock, 3 o'clock in the morning, so I would plan accordingly. Don’t rely on that because it’s never a 100& for sure thing.”
Lyft says due to the pandemic, they've seen a decrease in interest of drivers, essentially causing longer wait times. However, they say their goal is still to provide customers and employees with the best experience.
The pandemic has instilled fear among the rideshare workforce on a larger scale. Companies have been trying to combat the effects of the virus and ensure their employees safety.
At the start of the pandemic, ridesharing apps began requiring riders to wear masks at all times. Now drivers say the higher demand in the Brazos Valley has forced them to stop working due to fear for their safety.