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Uber, Lyft drivers want more protection as rising crime keeps many off the roads
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Lyft driver Lamont Liner thought he was picking up a regular fare in Chicago late last year. Instead, his passengers pulled out a pistol and stole his car and phone. He hasn’t returned to drive for the app since, even as ride-sharing companies have tried to tempt drivers with more money.
"The money is so good right now," said the 63-year-old. "But it’s just not worth it to have somebody put a gun to your head."
Ride-sharing companies Uber Technologies Inc. and LyftInc, which were already struggling with a shortage of drivers caused by Covid-19 concerns, are grappling with a rise in violent crimes and implementing new safety measures and policies to try to better protect the drivers still on their systems. Drivers aren’t returning as quickly as consumers, despite big bonuses from companies and the expiration of temporary unemployment benefits extended to gig workers.
Overall homicide offenses in the U.S. jumped more than 20% in 2020 compared with 2019, according to Federal Bureau of Investigation data. Law-enforcement agencies say crime has continued to climb this year.