Ride-share drivers struggle with lack of travelers in Omaha

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- The ripple effect of the pandemic outbreak continues outside airports. Rideshare drivers at Eppley Airfield say they've been scavenging for passengers over the past couple weeks. It's a line of work that relies on heavy air travel.

Uber and Lyft (Source: Lyft)

A cycle of business that's slowing to a grinding halt.

Of the 1.3 million Uber drivers across the country, a handful has been sitting outside the Omaha airport waiting for anyone in need of a ride.

"I used to be out here nonstop… I never had to sit idle,” said a Carlson.

For two years, Laura Carlson has been paying the bills by driving for Uber and Lyft. Driving 12 hours a day, earning a couple of hundred dollars on average.

But now she's one of the few waiting outside Eppley who is struggling to scrape anything together.

"I've been out here for over five hours I've made 35 dollars," said Carlson. “In five hours I'm usually well over 100 dollars.

And just a few doors down is Michael.

His car, insurance and about everything else in his life depends on the number of people he's picking up over 12 hours.

This is Eppley Tuesday afternoon. Terminals mostly empty with few passing through.

One of the few flyers we met had to fly from Phoenix to lay off employees. The lack of other passengers didn't make her flight any easier.

"It was weird, there was only like 30 other people on the plane,” said the flyer.

As few passengers land, rideshare drivers like Laura will keep waiting as her life depends on it.

"I wipe down all the handles and keep trying to keep my car germ free as I can,” said Laura.

Uber's CEO wrote to the President this week, asking that the new stimulus package include protections for drivers.