KUSI’s Dan Plante speaks with ride-share drivers who say they wish to be Independent Contractors

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) -A California appeals court has allowed ride-hailing giants Uber and Lyft to continue treating their drivers as independent contractors while an appeal works its way through the court.

Both companies had threatened to shut down if a ruling went into effect Friday morning that would have forced them to treat all their drivers as employees, a change they said would be impossible to accomplish overnight.

Lyft told riders and drivers in a Thursday blog post that it planned to discontinue providing rides in California just before midnight tonight, unless a court grants a stay in a pending case. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi had repeatedly said its service would have no choice but to stop providing rides in California if the state’s law goes into effect because the company can”t afford to hire 50,000 drivers as employees quickly enough to comply.

AB 5 was authored by San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, and co-authored by mayoral candidate Todd Gloria.

As the drama surrounding the ride-share giants in California unfolds, KUSI’s Dan Plante spoke with ride-share drivers at the San Diego International Airport to see if they preferred being Independent Contractors, or if they wanted to become employees.

He spoke with dozens of drivers, the large majority of them preferred to be classified as Independent Contractors because of the freedom it brings.

Ahmed Alsayed told KUSI’s Dan Plante, “it’s just ill timed to have it at a time like this. When we are very much dependent on transporting people from and to. Other than just hauling drunk people around on a daily basis, taking essential workers from and to hospitals, delivering food to elderly people, that’s my main point about it right now.”

Another driver, Rusty Elsayed, emphasized the freedom being an independent contractor brings to his life. “If you’re an employee you might have a boss, you might have someone to report to, you might have a set amount of hours to work at, sure the benefits would be nice. But on the other hand, lets keep our flexibility that we like so much” he explained.

RELATED STORY: California court gives reprieve to ride-sharing giants Uber and Lyft

Categories: California News, Local San Diego News, Politics