Here’s Why Everyone will be Fighting About How Much Uber Drivers Earn

which’s hard to figure out how much money drivers for Lyft as well as Uber — as well as gig workers in general — are actually creating. The drivers are independent contractors, not employees, so they don’t earn a regular wage, as well as ride-hail companies have so far been unwilling to share driver earnings data with the public.

Last week, an MIT working paper by Stanford professor Stephen Zoepf made the shocking claim which ride-hail drivers are earning on average less than $4 an hour after expenses. His research garnered a lot of attention — although which also isn’t accurate, as well as after Uber pushed back against the findings as well as offered completely new analysis, Zoepf revised his numbers.

inside the end, Zoepf admitted which his analysis wasn’t perfect.

After recrunching his analysis based on Uber’s critiques, he came up having a much higher average hourly wage estimate — closer to between $8.55 or $10 an hour, depending on the methodology. According to the completely new figures, which are still rough estimates, 8% of drivers still lose money while driving, as well as more than half are still earning less than minimum wage after expenses. While the drivers’ independent contractor status makes which legal, in many of Uber’s most common markets, these earnings alone could make which difficult to get by financially.

Zoepf’s research was only a working paper to begin with, meaning which wasn’t peer reviewed, as well as he intended to revise which based on conversations with Uber, Lyft, as well as others. Uber’s Khosrowshahi tweeted his thanks over the weekend for MIT’s willingness to rerun the numbers.

In a statement, a company spokesperson said Uber supports Zoepf’s “decision to conduct a thorough revision of the paper over the coming weeks.”

Understanding how much drivers actually earn will be difficult for numerous reasons.

Drivers work on multiple platforms, earning different rates per mile as well as per minute in different markets, different bonuses, as well as different tips. On top of which, economists have to estimate how much repairs, fuel, depreciation, as well as maintenance costs each driver, depending on things like what the weather will be like where they live as well as what kind of car they drive.

While nobody although an individual driver includes a perfect picture of earnings, Uber as well as Lyft have access to much of the relevant data which could make which fairly easy to figure out what drivers earn. While Uber says which has shared data with some researchers — most notably Alan Krueger, whose most recent work estimated drivers earn $18.75 an hour before expenses — Zoepf said the confusion will be caused in part by Uber’s lack of transparency.

“What Hall as well as Khosrowshahi’s assessment laid bare was an assumption about revenue which I made inside the absence of public ride-hailing data as well as a paucity of independent studies outside Uber’s own analyses,” he wrote. Zoepf went on to ask Uber to “help make open, honest, as well as public assessment of the range of ride-hailing drivers profit after the cost of acquiring, operating as well as maintaining a vehicle.”

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