If you look at a New York City street, it’s pretty easy to see that there is no shortage of cabs on the roads, despite what New Yorkers may claim.  For the rest of us, in regions where public transportation isn’t so heavily relied upon, we don’t have the same luck.  For this reason, Uber was a huge deal when it launched.  It provided an option that we didn’t previously have, and it took the pesky idea of having to carry cash out of the equation.  However, was it enough for the smaller towns that don’t have a plethora of cabs on hand ready to handle the load of people that aren’t able to drive themselves?

With a significant number of unlicensed drivers on the road, and more moving violations happening on a daily basis, there needs to be more options available for people that can’t drive.  Cab rides can get tremendously expensive if they have to be relied upon for daily transportation, especially if there isn’t a reliable bus network in the locale.  For these drivers, Uber was a blessing.  It wasn’t as expensive as a cab, there was no tipping, and you got your driver’s information and arrival time up front.

However, an unfortunate phenomenon is taking place is towns across this great nation of ours, Uber’s rates are increasing as a result of a shortage of drivers in these areas.  Even in tourist laden areas, there aren’t enough drivers willing to rent out their daily vehicle in order to keep the rates down.  Due to the lack of drivers available, the rates are rising at an alarming rate, or are they?  Many Uber passengers claim to have never had the same driver twice, so there is a lot of doubt as to Uber’s claims that they just can’t meet the demand.

Uber has faced its fair share of complaints in terms of their fares, most of which can be contested within the app itself.  Stories of drivers taking the longest route to a destination, or driver’s purposefully placing themselves in a traffic situation in order to drive up the rates are all over the place, if you know where to look.  Most of these complaints can be filed within the app and if the powers that be determine that an excessive route was taken, they’ll offer a partial refund.  But these complaints are the cause for concern at the moment.

In recent weeks, upon requesting an Uber, the user was informed that the rates were going to be higher due to a lack of drivers in the area, but upon looking at the map, there were tons of drivers around.  Could it be that the higher rates are a result of the knowledge of prime times and prime locations?  It seems as though a moderately sized beach town should have more drivers available than a one stoplight town in a rural area, but these alerts would have Uber users believing that just isn’t true.

Of course, Uber has to make money.  The need to make a profit while still paying their drivers, who we’re told are held to pretty rigorous standards.  These standards are listed on their website, in plain fashion without any fancy or extensive language.  You simply meet the requirements, or you don’t.  However, if the requirements are as strict as Uber says they are, are they shooting themselves in the foot and counting out some good drivers, who’ve made a mistake here or there?  Would the shortage exist if there were more qualified drivers on the road?  Or, is the shortage a big myth that Uber is counting on to slowly and quietly raise their rates?

For a lot of people Uber is a great option when they can’t drive or just don’t feel like it.  For others, it is one of very few options if they’re unlicensed.  Is it fair to either class of people for the rates to be driven up in areas where they claim they don’t have enough drivers?   While most people would understand a slight bump in the rates for high demand weekends, a seven-dollar bump on a Wednesday afternoon, because you don’t have enough drivers?  Are we really buying that or is Uber slyly trying to get a new rate system past us, disguised by these claims?  You decide Uber riders!