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Uber/Lyft drivers earn median $3.37/hour after expenses

05 March 2018

The findings have raised fresh concerns about labor standards in the booming sharing economy as companies like Uber and Lyft continue to face scrutiny over their treatment of drivers, who are classified as independent contractors and have few rights or protections. "And, the more you drive, the more you'll make". In 2017, courts in both North Carolina and NY ruled in Uber drivers' favor to be classified as employees, which could eventually entitle them to higher pay and more benefits.

Most Uber and Lyft drivers earn less than minimum wage, according to a new study.

While the ride-hailing giants are raking in the cash, it seems that not everybody who works at the companies is so lucky.

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So it likely came as no surprise, then, when they discovered that 30% of drivers 'are actually losing money once vehicle expenses are included'.

One survey of 1,143 people found that Uber drivers bring home an average of $16.90 per hour before expenses, while those for Lyft reported an hourly income of $17.37. Seventy-four percent of drivers earn less than their state's minimum wage, the researchers told National Public Radio. Gross driver revenue is just $0.59 per mile but drops to $0.29 per mile after vehicle operating expenses are factored in.

It was only a year ago that Uber introduced the option to tip drivers into its app for customers. The paper found almost half of all drivers can declare a loss for tax purposes at the federal tax deduction rate of roughly $0.54 per mile. Many rideshare drivers find themselves dissatisfied with the experience.

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"If drivers are fully able to capitalize on these losses for tax purposes, 73.5% of an estimated US market $4.8B in annual ride-hailing driver profit is untaxed", they add. Other findings include drivers are only generating $0.59 per mile of driving, and their costs account for nearly 50 percent of their per mile earnings.

The Guardian obtained a response from Uber, which criticized the study's findings as false.

Uber could not be reached at time of writing, although earlier a spokesperson told The Guardian it reckoned the study's methodology and findings were "deeply flawed".

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A Lyft spokesperson said that the company had not yet reviewed the study in detail, but suggested that the researchers had made "questionable assumptions".

Uber/Lyft drivers earn median $3.37/hour after expenses