LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Las Vegas was predicted to be a top domestic travel destination for the summer, and that's turning out to be true. A taxicab authority official said ridership is now near pre-pandemic levels.

"February or March, there was an exponential increase in demand for ridership, with kind of a reopening, and people traveling and coming back to Vegas," said JD Decker, interim administrator of the Nevada Taxicab Authority.

Las Vegas is recovering from COVID-19 economically, though the region is seeing another surge in cases, but this state leader said someone couldn't tell by looking at the booming demand for transportation like rideshares and taxis.

"Ridership is about ... 3% below 2019 pre-pandemic levels. So we're just about at the same kind of transportation section of demand that we were normally," Decker said.

It's been harder than ever for locals and tourists to get into a rideshare or taxi.

"Companies [are] having trouble getting drivers in cars, and cars on the road," Decker said.

On weekends especially, a driver shortage is making fares expensive and wait times exhausting.

Decker said he doesn't really know why there's a shortage, adding that it's a complicated issue, but he did mention what he had heard.

Taxi generic

"There have been a few anecdotal stories about people saying they didn't want to work full time, because then they would be disqualified for some kind of public assistance they were getting," Decker said.

The Nevada Taxicab Authority is urging cab companies to offer part or full-time flex positions, or in other words, positions that allow a flexible schedule.

"I think there's a good opportunity now to put cars on the road on weekends, surge the volume of cars on weekends, if that's where the demand is," he said.

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(1) comment

seanwally

The reason there is a shortage of drivers is simple, the TNC companies are continuing to control the surge and offer up crumbs for pay and as a driver I will refuse to drive during these horrible low surge prices. The companies like Lyft and Uber steal from drivers daily and drivers have become aware that they control the roads not them. As for Taxi cab companies, drivers will not return like before either as cab companies are just as corrupt! This is why I left driving cabs. Either way drivers will win this war as more TNC companies begin to surface and replace bad companies like Uber and Lyft with better mileage rates and drivers own surge control to compete for business. Watch this happen right after summer into the convention season which is when drivers will prove they can make it miserable for Lyft or Uber with now sweeping loss of revenue! We are fed up with this and if you really want to do something about it then force Uber and Lyft to be transparent and demand they allow drivers to control their own pricing surge rates and mileage while only paying a service fee to the TNC company for access to the app capped at 10% to be fair. No more BS!

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