Rideshare Drivers Cope With Citywide Business Shutdowns

Over the past few weeks many businesses have taken a hit due to COVID-19. Those who are self-employed like rideshare drivers have also been feeling a lot of the impact.

For many drivers, this hustle is the only way to pay the bills, leaving many worried as people are not using the services as often.

59-year-old Claude Maleka is from the Democratic Republic of Congo and is a father of five. When he moved to the United States four years ago, he worked entry level jobs because he has no other qualifications.

These jobs were physically hard and considering his age and the low pay, ultimately didn’t work out for him. Claude then decided to drive for Uber as he has experience in driving cabs. Claude is now a 5 Star Diamond driver with over 10,000 rides under his belt.

Recently, he has been worried about making enough to survive saying, “Uber job is about people, riders. Our job depends on them. It’s hard now because jobs are closed, bars, restaurants, the streets are empty. We wait up to one hour for just one ride. We not making anything” he said.

Valentine Lupaya, 25 is a part time Lyft driver and a student at the Community College of Philadelphia. He says he stopped driving over a week ago.

“It’s too risky. You don’t know who has the virus. No amount of wipes and sanitizers can truly keep you safe from an invisible virus.” Valentine is worried about generating income but feels health is more important as he his father’s care giver.

Now that he has stopped driving Valentine said, “I work out, I play basketball and I play video games. What else can I do” he said.

In trying to ensure the safety of all drivers and passengers by minimizing risks of spreading the COVID-19 virus, both Uber and Lyft released statements about what they are doing to keep customers and drivers safe. Uber says, “we are suspending accounts of drivers and riders who have tested positive for the virus and will be providing funds to drivers diagnosed with the virus or put under individual quarantine by a public health agency.” Lyft further announced, “To help protect drivers and riders, we’ve temporarily turned off shared rides”

It’s uncertain just when things will get back to normal, Valentine decided to make the most of staying at home, while Claude decided to stop driving to spend time with his children.

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