GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan — Ride-sharing companies like Uber and its drivers are adjusting to a new normal amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Although the stay at home order is still in effect in Michigan, a local Uber driver said he has never been so busy.
While there are far fewer passengers in need of a ride, driver Connor VanderWolde says he is one of just a few ride-share drivers still on the road.
“A lot of drivers have decided not to drive, so that has made it really busy for the drivers that are still driving,” VanderWolde said.
He said many of the Uber and Lyft drivers in the Grand Rapids area have chosen not to work during this time due to concerns of spreading or contracting coronavirus.
“I probably average about 25 to 30 rides a day,” he said, which is more than usual.
Most of his passengers are essential workers, like nurses, needing a ride to and from work. He said the others are usually just headed for the grocery store.
Meanwhile, ride-hailing companies are trying to keep up with the changing times.
NBC News reported earlier this week that Lyft will now require all drivers and riders to wear masks and that vehicles must be sanitized between rides.
According to the report, Uber is issuing similar recommendations.
VanderWolde said Uber is sending its drivers face masks free of charge to be used by the drivers and riders.
Since the onset of the pandemic, VanderWolde and many other ride-share drivers have been implementing safety measures of their own like sanitizing seats and keeping some distance from passengers.
“I make sure they sit in the back — that way you keep six feet distance,” he said.