Help wanted: Uber and Lyft drivers in Chicago. A shortage of drivers is causing rates to soar, posing a financial dilemma for people who depend on the services. How are people supposed to cope when prices have tripled? And what should we expect when prices return to normal?
Taken for a ride
At first, rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft revolutionized transportation in Chicago. They offered lower prices and better access to all of the city’s neighborhoods than the traditional options of mass transit and taxi cabs.
Then the pandemic hit. The rideshare services lost a lot of their drivers who did not want to risk exposing themselves to riders who might be infected. For the same reason, riders were avoiding mass transit and taxis. The supply of rideshare drivers could not keep up with rider demand, leading to dramatic increases in prices.
One rider says a trip that cost her $12 before the pandemic is now as much as $40. A TV station investigation found quick trips between neighborhoods like River North, Fulton Market, the Gold Coast, and Lincoln Park that cost $8 to $13 a few months ago now come with price tags of $15 to $30.
Drivers also complain that they are not receiving a fair share of the increased rates. They say rides that cost their customers $20 or $14 can mean a payout to them of only $6 or $4.58, respectively.
Cabs, meanwhile, are cheaper options but are far more difficult to find. Taxi drivers have conceded downtown to the rideshare companies, focusing their efforts on airport trips. Once a mainstay on many local streets, the city says 1,480 licensed cabs are on the road today, a dramatic decrease from the 6,600 in 2014.
Help on the way?
The easing of restrictions may play a major role in former rideshare drivers returning to the road, which theoretically would mean a decrease in prices. It also would lessen fears among riders about the use of mass transit, including buses and trains.
In the meantime, transportation experts say riders can help themselves. They suggest scheduling rides in advance through the services’ apps, which can cut down on the cost when compared to seeking a last-minute trip. Frequent rideshare users may be eligible for plans that charge a monthly fee, which can reduce the cost per ride.
More Lyft & Uber drivers, more risk of car accidents
Paying less for an Uber or Lyft will probably be welcome news to most if and when that happens. However, adding more vehicles to the road will increase traffic on the already crowded and congested streets of Chicago, which in turn increases your chances of being involved in a car accident.
Knowing how to navigate the confusing claims process and understanding all your legal options is critical if you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a rideshare company like Uber or Lyft.
That’s because there are multiple different insurance policies (e.g., the rideshare company’s policy, the rideshare driver’s personal insurance, a third-party involved in your crash) that might kick in to help pay for your accident-related expenses, such as your current and future medical bills, lost income, your pain and suffering, and any other damages you suffered as a result of your injury.
At Coplan & Crane, we have the resources and experience to help you maximize the value of your claim. We know how these companies work and how to fight for every dollar you deserve. And if we can’t secure a fair financial settlement that meets your needs, we are not afraid to file a lawsuit on your behalf and take the fight to court.
We also offer legal representation on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay us anything unless we make a financial recovery in your case.
Learn what an experienced rideshare accident lawyer in Chicago can do for your injury claim, and contact us right now at our office in Oak Park to arrange a free consultation.