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.
"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.