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Santa Barbara- S County

Lyft and Uber rolling along thanks to emergency stay

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - You can still catch a Lyft or Uber ride after midnight Thursday thanks to an appellate court ruling and an emergency stay.

David Brown, Lyft and Uber driver, is happy he can keep driving. (Credit: Beth Farnsworth)

The ride-share giants now have more time to appeal a ruling that required them to reclassify their private contractor drivers as "employees."

Before the appeals court ruling, Lyft had agreed to halt services statewide by midnight Thursday; Uber threatened the same.

"The number of people that depend on us daily, not just in Santa Barbara which are thousands, but the hundred thousands throughout California, it would've been ridiculous," said David Brown. “And then you’re talking about tens of thousands of Uber and Lyft drivers applying for unemployment."

The Santa Barbara resident has driven full-time for both ride-share companies for four years with an estimated 250 customers a week.

Brown said the prospect of losing the industry would be "chaos."

"People that need to get to work. People that need to get to medical appointments. That's a large part of Lyft which has many fixed-fee drives for the seniors and veterans. And, helping of the evening crowd, taking care of all the people who are out drinking and having a good time."

Brown credits Lyft and Uber for the decrease in DUI-related incidents in recent years and does not see a need to reclassify driver status.

However, he suspects about 30-percent of those who support the change are former cab or limo drivers wanting set hours and wages and health care benefits.

"I don't want that," Brown said. "I want the freedom. I do this full-time. I do this because of the freedom that I can work as hard I want to, then I can take off time and do whatever I want."

The issue goes before voters on the November ballot as Prop 22: A "yes" vote would keep the ride-share drivers classified as independent contractors; a “no” vote would reclassify them as employees.

For more information about Proposition 22, click here.

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Beth Farnsworth

Beth Farnsworth is the evening anchor for KEYT NewsChannel 3.

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