Driving companies affected by Boone County’s alcohol restrictions

COLUMBIA – One would think Uber and Lyft drivers’ pockets would hurt a little bit …

COLUMBIA – One would think Uber and Lyft drivers’ pockets would hurt a little bit from Boone County’s alcohol restrictions, but some drivers said their rates have actually increased.

Meanwhile, some taxi companies are hurting.

The Boone County Public Health Department placed an order the requires establishments that sell alcohol to close at 10:30p.m.

One local Uber driver, Tyrone Nixon, said most drivers rely on bar nights because that is when a lot of college students use Uber to get home.

Despite the health order, Nixon said he is still making money because college students are going to house parties instead.

“So I think what they [Boone County] thought that would decrease college kids from going out, but from my observation—my opinion— that’s made things a lot worse. The college students are going from house party, to house party, to house party. Basically if the house party gets shut down, they know the next one and they’re on top of that.”

Nixon’s wife, Nicole, said the distance between house parties are longer than the distance from downtown to campus.

“Down like from the university to Grindstone, you know, that’s definitely more profitable for us then from campus, like from one side of campus to the other side of campus.”

Nixon said there’s less competition because other drivers didn’t want to risk their health.

“A lot of them are just like ‘I’m not risking it.’ I literally seen a guy get a whole like face mask on with a tube and the tube connects out the window,” Nixon said. “So I mean with the population Uber drivers, they tend to be older. A lot of them, as I said, ‘I’m not doing it.’”

On the other hand, taxi drivers like Gamal Dirar, who works for 5 STAR TAXI, haven’t been getting as many calls.

“We’re struggling. I’m looking for another job now to cover what I need to run this business and keep it going. The business goes down so quick. People leave earlier than 10 and don’t make any money like before [the pandemic],” Dirar said.

The health order is set to expire on 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 6, unless otherwise extended, rescinded or modified.