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I remember at one time I considered becoming an Uber or Lyft driver to make some extra money. I knew my city well, and I had a sizable vehicle to boot. Now, I'm seeing both Uber and Lyft drivers struggling just as much as other gig workers. It's not surprising, but the numbers are more drastic than I thought they would be.
Due to the economic downturn following the quarantine, Uber has laid off 3,700 employees, which is nearly 25% of it's workforce. They also closed one of their major offices in San Francisco. Lyft, has laid off 1,000 employees. To break down exactly why this is happening, it's not only because there are less people looking for rides in the city in general, in some instances it's because there being a lack in tourism, and events such as concerts. Rideshare drivers make a lot of their money from driving people to and from concerts and events, and since that isn't really going on anymore, they've lost a big chunk of their income. Many rideshare drivers are unemployed and still struggling to get unemployment benefits.
In California for instance, they were able to pass a new law that required companies to reclassify contract workers as employees. Uber, and Lyft, however, have not as of yet complied with the law. According to UC Berkeley Labor Center, both Uber and Lyft should owe the state of California $413 million in unemployment insurance taxes. Instead of contributing, both rideshare companies have given $60 million to a proposed ballot initiative that would exempt them from the gig worker law in California. This is just one state we are talking about here. New York State is being sued by Uber and Lyft drivers for not providing them with unemployment benefits in a timely fashion.
It doesn't look like rideshare driving will be a lucrative way to make money anytime soon. The food delivery companies seem to be doing well enough though. I could see one of the two giants of the rideshare world going under, or at least filing for bankruptcy. It used to be a popular idea to drive for money, but has the bubble popped for good?