Uber drivers in Victoria are being kept busy by demand, but customers aren’t faring as well as the service gets off the ground.
Joy Nahirnick, an Uber driver in Victoria, says she estimates there are about six to eight Uber drivers on the road around midday on Tuesday, and demand is far outpacing the number of drivers.
Coming to meet with CHEK News, Nahirnick says she had to decline pick-up requests.
“I had to turn down three calls in the time it took me to cross the bridge and come here,” Nahirnick said.
She says there is enough demand that about 40 to 50 drivers would be needed at peak times.
“Please be patient with us. We’re getting there as quick as we can,” Nahirnick said.
Uber first launched in Victoria on June 6 after repeated failed attempts at having the Passenger Transporation Board to approve the service in the Capital region.
Keerthana Rang, a spokesperson for Uber Canada, said growing pains when the service first launches are not unusual.
“This is consistent is what we see in other cities, and in Vancouver when we launched in 2020. It does take a while to build up our driver base, and based on the support that we know residents in Victoria and visitors were looking for rideshare for many years, we knew that demand was going to be very high,” Rang said.
Postings on social media this weekend included complaints about long wait times and even no-shows.
“That’s what I heard all Thursday, Friday, Saturday. They tried to get an Uber, they couldn’t get one because they were so busy, so backed up,” Nahirnick said.
The company says it’s aware of the issue, and is reassuring riders that things will only get better.
“It’s going to take us a couple more weeks, I think, on the reliable front as we get more drivers on, and we get those wait times down,” Rang said.