How Much Can an Uber Driver Earn?
Uber driver-partners are allowed to set their own driving times with a flex-schedule, so total earning can vary a lot. Adding to the confusion, Uber has three different levels of service and charges according to the service rendered. Plus, Uber changes pricing according to demand, much like the HOV Express lanes found in today’s major metropolitan areas, where the cost might be adjusted from $.50 up to $4.50 for the same distance depending on how many vehicles are using the lane.
Uber doesn’t allow driver-partners nor managers to discuss pay scales publicly. Uber, however, has released numbers stating that New York City drivers make a median income of $90,000. That number is the total business income for that individual. It apparently does not include the costs of doing business, such as gasoline, tolls, vehicle repairs and maintenance, etc., Based on Uber’s numbers, their drivers make $6.00 more per hour than New York City cab drivers.
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In November of last year, Johana Bhuiyan, a BuzzFeed news reporter posted a story about what Uber drivers really make based on their pay stubs. In the previous month, an Uber city manager posted pay figures on Twitter. He challenged reporters to ride with ten random Uber drivers and have them declare their pay. Johana Bhuiyan took up the challenge. She randomly chose 11 Uber X drivers to determine their pay and how they liked driving for Uber. She came up with numbers a little higher than Uber’s for the hourly dollars earned. What seems to be unclear in both cases, is how many hours a driver-partner would have to work in order to hit the $90,000 mark. An interesting comparison came from two different drivers Bhuiyan interviewed.
Highest grossing week –
Number 1: (part-time) worked 14.5 hours / averaged $53.18 per hour
Number 2: (full-time) worked 40.1 hours / averaged $34.24 per hour
Busiest week –
Number 1: (part-time) worked 18.57 hours / averaged $37.07 per hour
Number 2: (full-time) worked 42.65 hours / averaged $22.06 per hour
Like many other part-time drivers Bhuiyan spoke to, they work fewer, but very specific high-income hours, and make much more per hour than a typical full-time driver.
If all drivers were required to work the same hours per week, have the same amount of waiting time and drove about the same distances, it would be easier to gauge an average pay scale. But that isn’t how Uber works. There are no set hours and driver-partners are allowed to set their own schedules and pick the times of day they want to drive.
Full-time drivers working 40 or more hours weekly will have more average rides than those who schedule their time during the high traffic periods. The 40-hour driver might average $22.50 an hour, while the part-timer who schedules half that time could be making $40.00 an hour. Uber drivers work all different schedules, during different times of the day and from very short to very long schedules.The takeaway is that Uber’s driver-partner pay is similar to – or maybe slightly higher on average than – a traditional cab driver’s pay, but with a very flexible schedule and generally reduced requirements.
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