Hermenegildo Cruz found himself back behind the wheel two weeks ago, picking up passengers in Los Angeles via the Lyft app. Originally from Oaxaca, Mexico, Cruz spends 12 hours a day ferrying passengers, many of whom are increasingly frustrated with long waits for a pickup and fares that are three times higher than usual. A driver shortage due to Covid-19 means that gig economy work is plentiful, and Cruz has made the app his primary source of income. “I’m better off, I’m my own boss and I feel less exposed to the virus,” he said from the front seat, divided from his passengers by a thick sheet of plastic. Cruz has lived in L.A. for 23 years and spent the last seven working in a restaurant, a job he has just quit.
The US economy is emerging from a Covid-induced slump, with more than 40% of the population having received at least one vaccine dose….