Rideshare driver seeing business increase as Alabama begins to reopen

Updated: May. 6, 2020 at 9:40 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - One group of people suffering through this pandemic we don’t often think about, the rideshare driver. A lot of people drive for Uber and Lyft as a way to make a little extra money.

During the coronavirus pandemic though, drivers are struggling to get people in their cars and make themselves feel safe at the same time.

Leigh Ann Browne is a Huntsville rideshare driver, she drives for Uber, Lyft and her own clients in her small business Driven2Serve.

Browne said this would usually be a great time for rideshare drivers, the weather is nice, people are outside and workers are traveling for business, but the coronavirus has changed all of that.

On a normal week, Browne would take a lot of people to and from the airport, but now that’s barely happening.

“You might see a couple of cars up there trickling but nobody is just sitting there and there are no Uber and Lyft drivers in the back parking lot at all," she said.

Browne said business has been like this since early March.

“You just sit out here and you waste your gas,” she said.

But, Browne said this past Friday business was booming.

“Oh it was great, it was awesome,” she said. "Everybody was just so eager to get out and just do something. I made good money then.”

When Governor Ivey gave retailers the option to reopen Browne saw a boost in people once again using their rideshare apps to get places.

Browne said she try’s to do everything she can to make people feel safe. She said she has extra masks, wipes and hand sanitizer in her car.

“They feel a lot better that I am willing and eager to take that extra mile to keep me safe and them safe," she said.

Masks aren’t just an option in Browne’s car anymore, Uber is now mandating both riders and the driver wear a mask at all times.

Building off the weekend’s momentum, she hopes life will continue to get back to normal.

“I think it’ll still be where the weekdays aren’t that busy and probably the weekends will pick up again," Browne said. “Everybody is probably at home working still and I hope businesses in other different cities fly in and make Huntsville busy again.”

At the same time, Browne recognizes that another surge of COVID-19 could happen and shut her business down again. She hopes people will still follow social distancing, where masks and keep up there personal hygiene, even though we are starting to see the state reopen.

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