Uber, Lyft drivers struggle during COVID-19 pandemic

Business

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Ride-share drivers are still spinning their wheels as businesses remain closed and workers stay home.

But less travel means fewer rides and for an Uber or Lyft driver, that means a steep pay cut.

Lyft driver Chris Labrada told FOX40 he had to move in with his family as he rides out the financial storm. 

“There were days when I would only have maybe like five or six rides for the day,” said Labrada.

Labrada said that would not be sustainable without the help of his family.

“I would have to look into other options. I have looked into trying to find other work instead of driving for ride-share but it’s hard right now to find other work,” said Labrada.

On top of the financial hardship, drivers also agonize about spreading or catching COVID-19.

“I could be a carrier and I don’t know it. I might not even feel the effects. So, the last thing I want to do is put anyone else in harm’s way,” explained Labrada.

Before and after every ride, Labrada said he makes sure to wipe down his seats and air out his car. 

But longtime Uber driver Jeff Perry told FOX40 that cleaning supplies have become harder to find. 

“Clorox wipes, all that stuff is not available. And those are things … that’s essential. If you’re not doing that, if you’re not disinfecting your car, you’re putting every passenger after that one you picked up at risk,” said Perry.

Not only was Perry struggling to support his family of four at the start of the pandemic but he was also becoming increasingly concerned about his own health.

“I said, ‘You know what, this isn’t worth it. I have two kids. I’m going to end up getting sick then I’m going to get them sick,’” said Perry.

Back in March at the San Francisco International Airport, where Perry routinely picked up passengers, there was no hand sanitizer in the porta-potties or in the area where riders would wait before getting in his car. 

“They were disgusting. I mean, it was really bad,” recalled Perry.

Airport officials later apologized for the cleaning delay. 

But it was enough to make Perry trade his steering wheel for a collared shirt. He’s since picked up a job at Costco. 

As for Labrada, he told FOX40 he’s spending his days staying optimistic and driving around anyone who needs it, from essential workers to people needing a ride to the hospital. 

“That’s my way of being able to help out and it makes me feel good. You have to have a positive attitude during this time. We should all be doing our best to help each other out,” asserted Labrada.

FOX40 reached out to both Uber and Lyft about what the companies are doing to help drivers during this time and ensure customer safety. Both companies said they have updated their financial assistance policies and will pay drivers if they are diagnosed with COVID-19 or told by a public health professional to self-quarantine.

Uber also announced at the beginning of April that the company is working to distribute disinfectants to drivers in high-risk areas to help keep cars clean but told FOX40 accessing these items has become challenging. 

Lyft is also offering free sanitizing products for drivers. For pickup information, you can click or tap here. For more information on Uber’s efforts in California, drivers and riders can click or tap here.

Trending

Don't miss

More Featured

Latest News

More News