NewsCovering Kern County


Uber facing temporary shut down if forced to classify drivers

Posted at 4:23 PM, Aug 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-13 21:03:20-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Uber may have to temporarily shut down in California if the driving service is forced to classify drivers as employees.

As of right now drivers are seen as independent contractors and Uber says they will appeal the decision within the next few days.

23abc's Bayne Froney spoke with Bakersfield Uber driver Raj Zafar and he said that if Uber were to shut down it wouldn't just affect Uber drivers' income but also the people who rely on Ubers to get around everyday.

Zafar continued, "Shutting it down, you know, you're not hurting the drivers, you're hurting those people who need the Uber."

A California Supreme Court Judge ordered that Uber make their drivers be considered full-time employees. Uber's CEO claims that if the court does not overturn the ruling then they will likely have to shutdown temporarily for several months due to having to change their business model to full-time employment.

Raj Zafar, a Bakersfield Resident, has been driving for Uber for 2 years and his main concern with Uber shutting down, are his passengers. "I am thinking about my patients that I take everyday to the doctor, I am thinking about them. How will they be able to reach the doctors for their appointments?" said Zafar.

With so many people who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19, Zafar felt lucky to still have Uber as an option. He said, "I lost my job, I used to do Uber part-time and now I am doing it full time. Just imagine if they shut us down, that means that I won't even have a job."

Some businesses also rely on services like Uber Eats to be able to deliver food. Local restaurant Hodel's Country Dining just started using the app yesterday. Don Hodel, General Manager of Hodel's said, "I plugged it into the computer, and within 15 minutes we already had four orders."

The restaurant wanted to start reaching new customers through Uber Eats, but with a possible shut down they may not get the chance. "I was excited about, reaching a whole new market through Uber, so yeah to have it all of a sudden disappear right when I got on board would really be a bummer." said Hodel.

Uber was given ten days to appeal the judgement or they will have to fall in line with the order.