As COVID-19 lockdowns eased in the US, some gig-economy drivers refused to return to work amid fears for their safety, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The situation exacerbated an already short supply of drivers amid the wider nationwide labor shortage.

In Chicago, for example, a police spokesman told The Journal that carjackings through November 10 were up 36%, compared with the same period last year.

One of the drivers who won’t return to his former job is Lamont Liner, a 63-year-old carjacking victim from Chicago, the Journal reported.

Shortly after the incident in November 2020, Liner told local news outlet WGN9 that he was thankful to be alive.

Liner continued: “Two people walked up on my passenger side and asked if I was Lyft and I asked them for the name on the account and they gave me the name on the account.”

He added: “No sooner than they shut the door then I turned around right at my driver’s door and within a few feet there was a guy with a gun pointed at my head.”

They ordered Liner to get out of his car and hand over his phone and wallet, he said.

Speaking to The Journal this week, Liner said that even though “the money is so good right now,” it’s “not worth it to have somebody put a gun to your head.” He hasn’t returned to drive for the app.

Lyft spokeswoman Ashley Adams told The Journal: “We’re committed to doing everything we can to help keep drivers safe. Violent crime, including carjacking, has been on the rise across the United States.”

Uber and Lyft did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Ride-sharing companies were already struggling with a significant shortage of drivers despite offering lucrative incentives to tempt workers back, Insider previously reported.

It follows research that found 35% of gig workers said they had felt unsafe while on the job. This is according to a study from Pew Research Center, which was reported on by Insider’s Grace Kay.

The study of more than 10,000 US adults found that 37% said they have been treated rudely at least sometimes while on the job, with 13% saying it happened often.

Meanwhile, ride-sharing apps have pledged to improve safety. “You’ll constantly see us doing more and more,” Sachin Kansal, Uber’s vice president of product management, who also oversees safety, told The Journal.

*By Zahra Tayeb, Business Insider*

One thought on “Some gig-economy drivers won’t return to work amid a spike in carjackings

  1. Ki Jui says:

    Crime sprees are everywhere but drivers are being targeted.

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