For the last two and a half years David Cook has been a part time Uber and Lyft Driver in Northern Virginia.
“I love it, it’s a great job. The flexibility is unparalleled; if one of my kids gets sick at school, I can just stop what I’m doing immediately and get down there.” he said.
But — there is a bump in the road.
The government shutdown has made it more difficult for Cook to use the ride share services, to generate extra income for his family.
“You see the same amount of drivers but about half of the clientele so… I would say 30 to 50%, as far how many rides are being given right now. I don’t have the official stats on that, but that’s just my experience.”
Adil, an Uber driver, supported Cooks estimates.
“I would say rides are down by 50 percent,” he explained.
Adil is a federal contractor. He has to wait for the government shutdown to end, to start the business back up. So for now, he’s driving full time — and during odd hours.
“It’s really only the bar crowd,” he explained.
Cook, agreed. He has had to change up his hours to adapt to the shutdown. At first, he was losing money, now he is losing sleep.
“I’ve been doing night shift when fewer drivers are out, somewhere in the 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. to get the same amount of income that I would normally do during the day, Monday through Friday.”
There are simply fewer people going to work in the DMV, and fewer professionals.
“But not everybody can [change their shift.] Not everybody has the luxury of saying ‘hey, I’ll work all night instead of all day.’
Esperita Bullard, works at the city of Alexandria’s Center of Economic Support. She said Cook and Adil are not alone. D.C. metro area financial and emergency food service providers are worried about a potential “ripple effect.”
“They’re not only seeing federal workers, but they’re seeing also cab drivers, Uber drivers, babysitters, the lawn industry that particular industry as well, normally they would pick up snow and do the snow removal and different things like that for people”
The shutdown transportation troubles are not only isolated to cabs, and rideshare services. WMATA’s General Manager Paul Wiedefeld told Virginia and Maryland Senators in a letter on January 17, that the service is losing $400,000 day in parking and fare revenue during the shutdown.
“You just do what you’ve gotta do and you hope that things will get worked out sooner rather than later obviously nobody wants this,” Cook said.