LONG BEACH, Calif. — On normal days, rideshare driver Ruben Gonzalez will work 10 to 12 hours, pick up two dozen passengers and make a few hundreds dollars, but these days are anything but normal.
Since a Safer at Home order went into effect in Los Angeles County, it’s been difficult for Gonzalez to find anybody that needs a ride.
“I drove 2 hours and 37 minutes, a little over 2.5 hours. I made a total of $11.95, $12, but it would’ve been less if not for the passengers that gave me a $5 tip,” said Gonzalez as he checks the app on his phone.
Since rideshare drivers are responsible for their own gas, he depends on tips just to get by, and while most people are staying safe at home, he has to go out and drive.
“We struggle. It’s month-to-month,” said Gonzalez. “We’re able to make it as I do it 7 days a week. There are weeks that I just have to do extra hours.”
- California Unemployment Numbers as US Doubles Record High
- Coronavirus Updates: What to Know in SoCal
The companies Gonzalez drives for don’t provide health insurance, unemployment or workers comp so every day is a risk. Last year, Uber and Lyft announced a $110 million ballot initiative to overturn AB5 and gig workers are demanding they drop to measure and use the funds to support drivers. As of right now, they’re on their own.
“The only thing that they’ve done is, they’re not going to do the Pool anymore,” said Gonzalez. “Other than that, they’re not offering anything else.”
No Pool is safer for drivers and passengers, but also means less rides overall and options are limited.
“I’m looking at signing up with Postmates to do deliveries, so I’m hoping I can get in there,” said Gonzalez.
A former high school and adult education teacher, Gonzalez started driving to make ends meet and he’s proud to send his daughter off to college.
“I don’t think we’ve peaked yet, but as it bottoms out, things will get better,” said Gonzalez. “I’m excited my daughter’s in college. My son’s doing very well in high school and I think the future’s bright for them. Regardless what happens to me, everything is about them."