Author Topic: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37  (Read 10283 times)

grizz

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Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« on: March 02, 2018, 07:48:15 AM »
This should not be a surprise for regular readers of this blog, but I thought I'd share anyway.
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/01/uber-lyft-driver-wages-median-report

deek

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2018, 08:03:08 AM »
I gave that idea up as soon as I read about on MMM. Such a crock.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2018, 08:17:01 AM »
From what I've heard from people I know who volunteer to prepare tax returns, I'm surprised only 30% of drivers are losing money.  The anecdotal rate I've heard is basically 100%.

inline five

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2018, 09:13:19 AM »
It depends where you do it. In Vegas and CA they stay really busy, I'd assume NYC too. Other areas, not so much.

dcheesi

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2018, 09:45:35 AM »
From what I've heard from people I know who volunteer to prepare tax returns, I'm surprised only 30% of drivers are losing money.  The anecdotal rate I've heard is basically 100%.
The standard mileage rate for tax purposes was $0.535 for 2017, whereas the estimated actual cost/mile in the article was $0.30; this probably explains the discrepancy. Of course then you have to ask: which one is more accurate?

ol1970

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2018, 10:17:46 AM »
Uber/Lyft is such an amazing deal for the customers and companies themselves, I can't quite figure out how they have suckered so many people into using their capital to fund a business.  Pure genius!  I can tell you though that you won't have to feel sorry for these drivers for long.  The best and brightest across the globe are working 24/7 to have a production ready solution to eliminate drivers all together...I'm fairly confident that a child born today will have no need or desire to purchase an automobile in their lifetime unless the live in an extremely rural area or need a truck for their job.

mcneally

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2018, 10:52:29 AM »
From what I've heard from people I know who volunteer to prepare tax returns, I'm surprised only 30% of drivers are losing money.  The anecdotal rate I've heard is basically 100%.
The standard mileage rate for tax purposes was $0.535 for 2017, whereas the estimated actual cost/mile in the article was $0.30; this probably explains the discrepancy. Of course then you have to ask: which one is more accurate?
The standard mileage rate is an average for all vehicles (i.e. a Corolla AND an F150) and includes all fixed costs like depreciation of newer vehicles, insurance, etc. I don't have a study to back this up, but if you're going to have a car regardless, I estimate the variable cost of driving my economy car (e.g. gas & maintenance) to be about 20 cents a mile over the long term, split more or less equally between the two categories. If you do your own car repairs it could be less than that. 
« Last Edit: March 02, 2018, 10:57:35 AM by mcneally »

mskyle

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2018, 11:56:05 AM »
Uber/Lyft is such an amazing deal for the customers and companies themselves, I can't quite figure out how they have suckered so many people into using their capital to fund a business. 

Oh, but it's not a good deal for the companies either! Last I heard Uber burns through about $2 billion a year, Lyft around $1 billion. The companies do not make any money at all - in fact they consume it at an amazing rate! So all these Uber and Lyft rides are subsidized by both the drivers themselves *and* huge investments by VCs. I do wonder how it will end. Even if they could magically switch over to an all-driverless fleet of cars, they'd have to pay all those operating costs that drivers currently absorb for them.

HermanCain

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2018, 12:14:39 PM »
I'm not really liberal on these matters but it boggles my mind how this can be allowed to happen in the US. I understand drivers don't have much bargaining power as mostly anyone can do it but they have peoples' lives in their hands. They are providing a really important service. Some baseline for compensation (ahem, minimum wage) is what makes us a civilized society. This is clearly a sidestep of that and a failure on the part of policymakers who are tasked with protecting people from practices like this.

It boggles my mind how there is no political party in the US who can represent these people honestly. Either politicians in the party that would have traditionally railed against this (D) are self-deluded to the point where they actually think they would be stifling "innovation" if they regulated these platforms or they are just conventionally "bought" (my opinion is a combination of both). Either way, I don't use these platforms (or visit stores like Wal-mart) precisely because I can't support their business practices. FULL-TIME hiring at even minimum wage goes a very, very long way to helping peoples' well-being.

If you're not an Uber driver and think you don't have to care about this don't be smug--this is a precedent for rescinding things that we take for granted, partially as a result of the labor movement, and partially as a result of better technology. Again, I'm not by any means an activist in this realm (see my comments on overpaid CA union employees).

When self-driving cars come out the landscape will look very, very different. I expect for on-demand urban/suburban transport Google/Apple will win because all they have to do is add a link to their maps application and expend their extensive capital to purchase fleets. Uber will probably be shut out and shut down. Their "network" is of limited value--there is no customer or driver loyalty here. And they have probably 1% of the capital of large players. Big auto companies might be successful in the more limited, wealthier, ownership market (society is trending towards renting).

As for people who drove Uber, they will probably have not much to show for the time they spent driving for the service. Consumers will enjoy the new, cheaper self-driving cars.

ketchup

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2018, 12:58:39 PM »
From what I've heard from people I know who volunteer to prepare tax returns, I'm surprised only 30% of drivers are losing money.  The anecdotal rate I've heard is basically 100%.
The standard mileage rate for tax purposes was $0.535 for 2017, whereas the estimated actual cost/mile in the article was $0.30; this probably explains the discrepancy. Of course then you have to ask: which one is more accurate?
The standard mileage rate is an average for all vehicles (i.e. a Corolla AND an F150) and includes all fixed costs like depreciation of newer vehicles, insurance, etc. I don't have a study to back this up, but if you're going to have a car regardless, I estimate the variable cost of driving my economy car (e.g. gas & maintenance) to be about 20 cents a mile over the long term, split more or less equally between the two categories. If you do your own car repairs it could be less than that.
I don't really buy this argument.  The car depreciates per-mile whether you're driving it to the grocery store or for Uber.  Your insurance cares about how many miles/year you drive and adjusts accordingly.  It's the same mind games pizza delivery drivers play to convince themselves they're making more money than they are.  I've had roommates that do that, and it's kind of depressing.

I could see Uber penciling out if you optimized the car costs down as much as possible and drove only at peak times, but for almost everyone else I fail to see how it makes any sense.  I always tip big if I take an Uber (and the driver is non-shitty, which is most of the time).

PDXTabs

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2018, 01:28:33 PM »
The standard mileage rate is an average for all vehicles (i.e. a Corolla AND an F150) and includes all fixed costs like depreciation of newer vehicles, insurance, etc. I don't have a study to back this up, but if you're going to have a car regardless, I estimate the variable cost of driving my economy car (e.g. gas & maintenance) to be about 20 cents a mile over the long term, split more or less equally between the two categories. If you do your own car repairs it could be less than that.
I don't really buy this argument.  The car depreciates per-mile whether you're driving it to the grocery store or for Uber.  Your insurance cares about how many miles/year you drive and adjusts accordingly.  It's the same mind games pizza delivery drivers play to convince themselves they're making more money than they are.  I've had roommates that do that, and it's kind of depressing.

I could see Uber penciling out if you optimized the car costs down as much as possible and drove only at peak times, but for almost everyone else I fail to see how it makes any sense.  I always tip big if I take an Uber (and the driver is non-shitty, which is most of the time).

I hate driving and really don't want to drive for Uber. With that said, I agree with mcneally. The marginal mileage rate is not $0.55. Think about it, what does it cost to buy a new car, register it, and let it sit in your driveway? At least $6K per year once you count depreciation. Now, what's the marginal cost to drive 10 miles? I don't know, but I'm not convinced that its $0.55. Yes, cars are expensive, but one more mile isn't that expensive.

ketchup

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2018, 01:35:55 PM »
The standard mileage rate is an average for all vehicles (i.e. a Corolla AND an F150) and includes all fixed costs like depreciation of newer vehicles, insurance, etc. I don't have a study to back this up, but if you're going to have a car regardless, I estimate the variable cost of driving my economy car (e.g. gas & maintenance) to be about 20 cents a mile over the long term, split more or less equally between the two categories. If you do your own car repairs it could be less than that.
I don't really buy this argument.  The car depreciates per-mile whether you're driving it to the grocery store or for Uber.  Your insurance cares about how many miles/year you drive and adjusts accordingly.  It's the same mind games pizza delivery drivers play to convince themselves they're making more money than they are.  I've had roommates that do that, and it's kind of depressing.

I could see Uber penciling out if you optimized the car costs down as much as possible and drove only at peak times, but for almost everyone else I fail to see how it makes any sense.  I always tip big if I take an Uber (and the driver is non-shitty, which is most of the time).

I hate driving and really don't want to drive for Uber. With that said, I agree with mcneally. The marginal mileage rate is not $0.55. Think about it, what does it cost to buy a new car, register it, and let it sit in your driveway? At least $6K per year once you count depreciation. Now, what's the marginal cost to drive 10 miles? I don't know, but I'm not convinced that its $0.55. Yes, cars are expensive, but one more mile isn't that expensive.
I'm not saying it's 55 cents, but it's definitely not 20 for most people.  I only look at my car cost in terms of average per-mile and per-year, because that's really all that matters.  Breaking it into "fixed" and "marginal" seems arbitrary and disingenuous.  Anyone driving with any frequency for Uber is increasing their depreciation, insurance, maintenance/repairs, etc. by a non-trivial amount.

PDXTabs

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2018, 01:41:13 PM »
The standard mileage rate is an average for all vehicles (i.e. a Corolla AND an F150) and includes all fixed costs like depreciation of newer vehicles, insurance, etc. I don't have a study to back this up, but if you're going to have a car regardless, I estimate the variable cost of driving my economy car (e.g. gas & maintenance) to be about 20 cents a mile over the long term, split more or less equally between the two categories. If you do your own car repairs it could be less than that.
I don't really buy this argument.  The car depreciates per-mile whether you're driving it to the grocery store or for Uber.  Your insurance cares about how many miles/year you drive and adjusts accordingly.  It's the same mind games pizza delivery drivers play to convince themselves they're making more money than they are.  I've had roommates that do that, and it's kind of depressing.

I could see Uber penciling out if you optimized the car costs down as much as possible and drove only at peak times, but for almost everyone else I fail to see how it makes any sense.  I always tip big if I take an Uber (and the driver is non-shitty, which is most of the time).

I hate driving and really don't want to drive for Uber. With that said, I agree with mcneally. The marginal mileage rate is not $0.55. Think about it, what does it cost to buy a new car, register it, and let it sit in your driveway? At least $6K per year once you count depreciation. Now, what's the marginal cost to drive 10 miles? I don't know, but I'm not convinced that its $0.55. Yes, cars are expensive, but one more mile isn't that expensive.
I'm not saying it's 55 cents, but it's definitely not 20 for most people.  I only look at my car cost in terms of average per-mile and per-year, because that's really all that matters.  Breaking it into "fixed" and "marginal" seems arbitrary and disingenuous.  Anyone driving with any frequency for Uber is increasing their depreciation, insurance, maintenance/repairs, etc. by a non-trivial amount.

Well, that depends. What if I chose to drive for Uber on Friday and Saturday nights? But I didn't buy my car to drive for Uber. Now, obviously, that would be if *I* drove for Uber. I have a day job.

ketchup

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2018, 02:48:30 PM »
The standard mileage rate is an average for all vehicles (i.e. a Corolla AND an F150) and includes all fixed costs like depreciation of newer vehicles, insurance, etc. I don't have a study to back this up, but if you're going to have a car regardless, I estimate the variable cost of driving my economy car (e.g. gas & maintenance) to be about 20 cents a mile over the long term, split more or less equally between the two categories. If you do your own car repairs it could be less than that.
I don't really buy this argument.  The car depreciates per-mile whether you're driving it to the grocery store or for Uber.  Your insurance cares about how many miles/year you drive and adjusts accordingly.  It's the same mind games pizza delivery drivers play to convince themselves they're making more money than they are.  I've had roommates that do that, and it's kind of depressing.

I could see Uber penciling out if you optimized the car costs down as much as possible and drove only at peak times, but for almost everyone else I fail to see how it makes any sense.  I always tip big if I take an Uber (and the driver is non-shitty, which is most of the time).

I hate driving and really don't want to drive for Uber. With that said, I agree with mcneally. The marginal mileage rate is not $0.55. Think about it, what does it cost to buy a new car, register it, and let it sit in your driveway? At least $6K per year once you count depreciation. Now, what's the marginal cost to drive 10 miles? I don't know, but I'm not convinced that its $0.55. Yes, cars are expensive, but one more mile isn't that expensive.
I'm not saying it's 55 cents, but it's definitely not 20 for most people.  I only look at my car cost in terms of average per-mile and per-year, because that's really all that matters.  Breaking it into "fixed" and "marginal" seems arbitrary and disingenuous.  Anyone driving with any frequency for Uber is increasing their depreciation, insurance, maintenance/repairs, etc. by a non-trivial amount.

Well, that depends. What if I chose to drive for Uber on Friday and Saturday nights? But I didn't buy my car to drive for Uber. Now, obviously, that would be if *I* drove for Uber. I have a day job.
Everything should still be amortized over all the miles you drive.  Gas is obvious, you consume extra gas by driving on Friday and Saturday nights.  But you also move closer to your next needed maintenance, and wear things out towards needing repairs.  My car depreciates X amount per mile whether those miles are on Friday night or Monday morning.

I could see the argument for not including vehicle registration costs or any taxes, as those are true fixed "doesn't matter how much you drive" costs.  Maaybe insurance, if your insurance company doesn't care how much you drive per year (they always ask me).

I keep records of our household's complete driving cost, and over five years and 141,212 miles, our costs have been split 23.2% maintenance/repairs, 48.4% fuel, 11.6% insurance, 10.9% depreciation, and 5.8% registration/taxes.  Even lopping off the insurance and registration only decreases the "marginal cost" of driving by 17% (which in my case amounts to an average whopping 3.7 cents per mile).  Everything else still applies.

dcheesi

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2018, 03:18:10 PM »
Depreciation is a tricky one, since it's based on both mileage *and* time. Even if the car sits in the driveway and only gets started up to idle once a month, it's still going to be valued less after a few years (unless/until it hits "classic" status, at least). But clearly mileage also affects the value.

To a lesser extent this goes for maintenance as well. Tires and hoses dry-rot, seals degrade, etc. Of course for most (non-mustachian) people, the effects of mileage predominate. But the contribution of time never entirely goes away, and for very low-mileage vehicles, it can be significant.

JetBlast

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2018, 03:27:09 PM »
I canít say Iím surprised by the findings of the study. My last Lyft ride was in a Range Rover. Howís that make any sense?

Paul der Krake

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2018, 03:32:26 PM »
As other have mentioned, nobody in their right mind buys a car to drive for Uber. They buy a car for themselves, which they then decide to extract more value out of by engaging in contracted labor. In that scenario, the tax mileage rate is completely irrelevant. Yes, driving on these platforms full time is a raw deal Ė don't do it.

Also, Uber and Lyft are "losing" so much money because:
1) It's not their money
2) The technological arms race is an existential thread, which requires hiring a ton of expensive engineers.

lbmustache

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2018, 04:05:11 PM »
I'm not really liberal on these matters but it boggles my mind how this can be allowed to happen in the US. I understand drivers don't have much bargaining power as mostly anyone can do it but they have peoples' lives in their hands. They are providing a really important service. Some baseline for compensation (ahem, minimum wage) is what makes us a civilized society. This is clearly a sidestep of that and a failure on the part of policymakers who are tasked with protecting people from practices like this.

It boggles my mind how there is no political party in the US who can represent these people honestly. Either politicians in the party that would have traditionally railed against this (D) are self-deluded to the point where they actually think they would be stifling "innovation" if they regulated these platforms or they are just conventionally "bought" (my opinion is a combination of both). Either way, I don't use these platforms (or visit stores like Wal-mart) precisely because I can't support their business practices. FULL-TIME hiring at even minimum wage goes a very, very long way to helping peoples' well-being.


Oddly enough, I was perusing an Uber forum, and there are a lot of people who see no problem with how Uber/Lyft run their business, and in fact appreciate the lack of regulation because they see it as benefiting themselves ("I can work whenever I want" "I finally have a job"). Essentially believing any regulation would result in a loss of flexibility and/or jobs.

I canít say Iím surprised by the findings of the study. My last Lyft ride was in a Range Rover. Howís that make any sense?

I had a driver pick me up in a crowded urban city, in a Mercedes GL (the huge 3row SUV - 13mpg in the city... on premium gas!!). Most of your time is spent idling or moving along really slowly. And I had to go maybe 3-4 miles. I was just truly baffled.

HermanCain

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2018, 04:33:06 PM »
I'm not really liberal on these matters but it boggles my mind how this can be allowed to happen in the US. I understand drivers don't have much bargaining power as mostly anyone can do it but they have peoples' lives in their hands. They are providing a really important service. Some baseline for compensation (ahem, minimum wage) is what makes us a civilized society. This is clearly a sidestep of that and a failure on the part of policymakers who are tasked with protecting people from practices like this.

It boggles my mind how there is no political party in the US who can represent these people honestly. Either politicians in the party that would have traditionally railed against this (D) are self-deluded to the point where they actually think they would be stifling "innovation" if they regulated these platforms or they are just conventionally "bought" (my opinion is a combination of both). Either way, I don't use these platforms (or visit stores like Wal-mart) precisely because I can't support their business practices. FULL-TIME hiring at even minimum wage goes a very, very long way to helping peoples' well-being.


Oddly enough, I was perusing an Uber forum, and there are a lot of people who see no problem with how Uber/Lyft run their business, and in fact appreciate the lack of regulation because they see it as benefiting themselves ("I can work whenever I want" "I finally have a job"). Essentially believing any regulation would result in a loss of flexibility and/or jobs.

I canít say Iím surprised by the findings of the study. My last Lyft ride was in a Range Rover. Howís that make any sense?

I had a driver pick me up in a crowded urban city, in a Mercedes GL (the huge 3row SUV - 13mpg in the city... on premium gas!!). Most of your time is spent idling or moving along really slowly. And I had to go maybe 3-4 miles. I was just truly baffled.
A lot of businesses' marketing budget goes towards what is called "inbound marketing". Meaning, basically, falsely identifying as a layperson and hanging the subject, pointing out the other side of the argument, etc. in forums frequented by casual internet users with disposable income (this forum, despite its anti consumerist ethos, is probably identified as a target audience). It's not inherently illegal but I'd say it's pretty clearly unethical. And yes, I believe that there is a lot of that going around.

mcneally

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #19 on: March 02, 2018, 04:35:08 PM »
Ketchup - I'm not defending Uber and certainly not arguing it's a good idea for anyone to drive for them. I'm arguing that standard mileage is a drastic overstatement of marginal costs, especially if you drive an economy car. This is part because 1) standard mileage is set to determine total ownership costs, not the marginal cost per mile and 2)standard mileage is an average of new, expensive, inefficient cars as well as economy cars. This can be useful for everyone in determining whether its worth it to drive somewhere or when considering whether to drive or fly.

Since we're addressing maintenance separately, all depreciation means is the decrease in the resale value. I did an appraisal of my 2010 Elantra on Edmunds. Then I did it again with 10,000 more miles. The appraisal went down $295, or 2.95 cents per mile.Obviously total depreciation since I bought it is significantly more than that, but most depreciation comes from age, not miles (you can go to extremes with mileage, but the per mile cost still won't be high). Maintenance will be higher an older car but depreciation will be lower. I would think that  for that cars most people here a driving, total depreciation + maintenance won't exceed 15 cents/ mile. Gas is 7-10 cents/ mile. I've driven anywhere from 12k miles to 18k miles a year and that's never caused my insurance rates to change.

I hadn't done the math until writing this post, but I added up the lifetime costs since I bought my car new (purchase price, sales & property tax, gas, insurance, maintenance minus residual value) and my total costs to date on a car I bought brand new have been 28.5 cents per mile, so my 20 cent per mile variable estimate is probably overstating it a bit.

BTW, the IRS breaks out the portion of standard mileage that is for depreciation- its 25 cents a mile. After you've driven your Camry 160,000 miles, has it decreased in value by $40,000? https://www.journalofaccountancy.com/news/2017/dec/2018-irs-standard-mileage-rates-201718061.html

LAGuy

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #20 on: March 02, 2018, 06:10:28 PM »
I also am not a defender of these companies, but clearly the people working for them have the ability to determine for themselves if they're getting some return out of working for them. If it was such a horrible situation, they'd quit and go do something else. And the flexibility these jobs offer are nothing to sniff at. Put yourself in their shoes, if your choice in life involved driving for Uber at *possibly* below minimum wage rates vs working some shit retail/fast food job for some douche bag corporation and their severe scheduling exploitation which would you choose? Personally, I'd be sorely tempted to go with Uber.

Mezzie

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #21 on: March 03, 2018, 06:20:56 AM »
My dad is retired and drives for Uber for some extra money. He enjoys driving, chatting with interesting people, and ending up places he wouldn't see otherwise. He makes whatever set amount he went out to make, but I don't think his goal was high. They've had to do some repairs around the house, and it's helped. He has no illusions that it's a real job; it's more like a semi-lucrative hobby. For a retiree that wants flexibility and has a defined pension already, it's great. I really can't think of many other situations it would be great for.

I've never ridden Uber or Lyft. If I need to, I call a cab. I make enough that I can pay someone a fair amount for services provided.

simmias

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #22 on: March 03, 2018, 07:02:48 AM »
I've never ridden Uber or Lyft. If I need to, I call a cab. I make enough that I can pay someone a fair amount for services provided.
I recommend that you try Uber or Lyft.  To me the experience is so much more positive than taking a cab.  Unlike many, many experiences in a cab, I have never felt like I was going to be in an accident when I used Uber/Lyft.  If your concern is that you aren't paying a fair amount, just do what I do and tip generously.

ketchup

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #23 on: March 03, 2018, 07:19:13 AM »
Ketchup - I'm not defending Uber and certainly not arguing it's a good idea for anyone to drive for them. I'm arguing that standard mileage is a drastic overstatement of marginal costs, especially if you drive an economy car. This is part because 1) standard mileage is set to determine total ownership costs, not the marginal cost per mile and 2)standard mileage is an average of new, expensive, inefficient cars as well as economy cars. This can be useful for everyone in determining whether its worth it to drive somewhere or when considering whether to drive or fly.

Since we're addressing maintenance separately, all depreciation means is the decrease in the resale value. I did an appraisal of my 2010 Elantra on Edmunds. Then I did it again with 10,000 more miles. The appraisal went down $295, or 2.95 cents per mile.Obviously total depreciation since I bought it is significantly more than that, but most depreciation comes from age, not miles (you can go to extremes with mileage, but the per mile cost still won't be high). Maintenance will be higher an older car but depreciation will be lower. I would think that  for that cars most people here a driving, total depreciation + maintenance won't exceed 15 cents/ mile. Gas is 7-10 cents/ mile. I've driven anywhere from 12k miles to 18k miles a year and that's never caused my insurance rates to change.

I hadn't done the math until writing this post, but I added up the lifetime costs since I bought my car new (purchase price, sales & property tax, gas, insurance, maintenance minus residual value) and my total costs to date on a car I bought brand new have been 28.5 cents per mile, so my 20 cent per mile variable estimate is probably overstating it a bit.

BTW, the IRS breaks out the portion of standard mileage that is for depreciation- its 25 cents a mile. After you've driven your Camry 160,000 miles, has it decreased in value by $40,000? https://www.journalofaccountancy.com/news/2017/dec/2018-irs-standard-mileage-rates-201718061.html
Your sensible compact purchased new has cost 28.5 cents/mile.  My series of beaters and one-tier-above-beaters has cost me an average of 22 cents/mile.  Everyone's costs are not this low.  Most aren't, I'd argue.  The lowest you can hope Joe Schmo is paying for his non-insane reasonably efficient car is probably 30 cents/mile. 

But the worst part is that Joe Schmo probably thinks of his day driving for Uber as more like "I drove 200 miles today, burned through $15 of gas, made $150, therefore $135 profit, that's what I made today!"  That's the way my pizza delivery roommates would do that math, and it drove me crazy.  These were people putting 25,000 miles each per year on their cars.  You can pretend it's true for one night, and it won't really get you in trouble, but when you do that all year, all you've done is suck value out of your car and convert it to cash, some of which needs to be thrown back into the car.


I've never ridden Uber or Lyft. If I need to, I call a cab. I make enough that I can pay someone a fair amount for services provided.
I recommend that you try Uber or Lyft.  To me the experience is so much more positive than taking a cab.  Unlike many, many experiences in a cab, I have never felt like I was going to be in an accident when I used Uber/Lyft.  If your concern is that you aren't paying a fair amount, just do what I do and tip generously.
This is my exact strategy too.  Uber/Lyft is just way better.  No calling, no bullshit, you know exactly how far away they are and see them move towards you on the map, you can share your location with them, payment is all handled through the app, etc.

swampwiz

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #24 on: March 04, 2018, 12:12:37 AM »
The only way someone really makes any decent return is if he has an inexpensive car that costs him a good bit less than the federal mileage rate, in which case he gets the difference as non-taxed.  I used to do a lot of contract work on the road, and part of the juice for it was to get a big Per Diem breakout that was untaxed that would be worth more in tax savings than what it would cost for me to rent a place.

HermanCain

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #25 on: March 04, 2018, 05:50:02 PM »
The only way someone really makes any decent return is if he has an inexpensive car that costs him a good bit less than the federal mileage rate, in which case he gets the difference as non-taxed.  I used to do a lot of contract work on the road, and part of the juice for it was to get a big Per Diem breakout that was untaxed that would be worth more in tax savings than what it would cost for me to rent a place.
What if they are a woman?

SC93

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #26 on: March 04, 2018, 06:15:29 PM »
The only way someone really makes any decent return is if he has an inexpensive car that costs him a good bit less than the federal mileage rate, in which case he gets the difference as non-taxed.  I used to do a lot of contract work on the road, and part of the juice for it was to get a big Per Diem breakout that was untaxed that would be worth more in tax savings than what it would cost for me to rent a place.
What if they are a woman?

They she would be barefoot & pregnant.... cooking and cleaning the home. :)

See how I turned that remark around on you?

FallenTimber

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #27 on: March 04, 2018, 06:18:24 PM »
My dad is retired and drives for Uber for some extra money. He enjoys driving, chatting with interesting people, and ending up places he wouldn't see otherwise. He makes whatever set amount he went out to make, but I don't think his goal was high. They've had to do some repairs around the house, and it's helped. He has no illusions that it's a real job; it's more like a semi-lucrative hobby. For a retiree that wants flexibility and has a defined pension already, it's great. I really can't think of many other situations it would be great for.

I've never ridden Uber or Lyft. If I need to, I call a cab. I make enough that I can pay someone a fair amount for services provided.
My dad is in the same position. Retired, goes bowling, plays golf, drives for Uber and Lyft when he feels like it. He usually bitches about the idiots that use Uber or Lyft, complains about the lack of tips, etc. I was surprised to hear that he brings in over $500 a week, though, consistently. With that, plus his social security and benefits, he makes more money now than he was making prior to retirement. And he still gets to do all of his hobbies and live life how he wants, while getting to socialize with random folks.

I donít think itís a great career choice to be a full time Uber or Lyft driver, but if you want to pocket extra cash, itís a great little side hustle. The $0.55 a mile rate, in my experience with my other businesses, has been far more than my out of pocket expenses, including depreciation. Itís one of the saving graces for me when tax time rolls around.

Cpa Cat

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #28 on: March 04, 2018, 06:46:43 PM »
I've never met an Uber Schedule C that I couldn't turn into a loss. But I have met several Uber drivers who have told me they make enough to pay their car loan or max out a 401(k) at their primary job.

So I suppose it's like rental properties - often cash flow positive, but a tax loss.

A lot of Uber drivers seem to view it as turning empty time into cash-producing time. They like the job and don't feel like they have anything better to do.

HipGnosis

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #29 on: March 05, 2018, 09:08:38 AM »
I've never met an Uber Schedule C that I couldn't turn into a loss. But I have met several Uber drivers who have told me they make enough to pay their car loan or max out a 401(k) at their primary job.

So I suppose it's like rental properties - often cash flow positive, but a tax loss.

A lot of Uber drivers seem to view it as turning empty time into cash-producing time. They like the job and don't feel like they have anything better to do.
I bought a hybrid, and one justification for it is the potential to driver for Lyft (or Uber).  At what point does driving for them go from 1099 independent contractor to a business that requires or benefits from filing a schedule C?
 

dandarc

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #30 on: March 05, 2018, 09:18:54 AM »
I've never met an Uber Schedule C that I couldn't turn into a loss. But I have met several Uber drivers who have told me they make enough to pay their car loan or max out a 401(k) at their primary job.

So I suppose it's like rental properties - often cash flow positive, but a tax loss.

A lot of Uber drivers seem to view it as turning empty time into cash-producing time. They like the job and don't feel like they have anything better to do.
I bought a hybrid, and one justification for it is the potential to driver for Lyft (or Uber).  At what point does driving for them go from 1099 independent contractor to a business that requires or benefits from filing a schedule C?
If you're working as an independent contractor, you almost certainly should be filing a Schedule C.

DebtFreeinPhilly

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #31 on: March 05, 2018, 10:03:40 AM »
to me it all depends on your market and if you are driving at peak profit times. We live outside of Philadelphia, and my wife drives Uber most weekends using our paid for Hyundai Santa Fe. She will drive on Friday night (6pm-1am), Saturday (10am-6pm), and Sunday (12pm-6pm). She is a SAHM during the week because day care is ridiculously expensive. Routinely, her weekly pay is $550. When you take out 25% for taxes and repairs, she takes home just over $400 a week.

1 week of Uber pays for all of the gas she spends driving for the month. Her avg. each night is 16mpg.

To our family, that's $1200 extra a month in our budget. This allows us to add more to retirement accounts, save for a house, and pay for trips to the in laws in Europe. we are not full on mustachian but do live a more frugal life than most. 

HipGnosis

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #32 on: March 05, 2018, 10:23:51 AM »
to me it all depends on your market and if you are driving at peak profit times. We live outside of Philadelphia, and my wife drives Uber most weekends using our paid for Hyundai Santa Fe. She will drive on Friday night (6pm-1am), Saturday (10am-6pm), and Sunday (12pm-6pm). She is a SAHM during the week because day care is ridiculously expensive. Routinely, her weekly pay is $550.

Thanks!  That sure blows away the "median hourly wage is just $3.37"!!

maizeman

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #33 on: March 06, 2018, 09:05:31 PM »
This was a draft paper posted for comment, and is now being revised based on the ambiguous interpretations of two questions. The lead author's statement about the revisions is posted as screenshots of a text document on twitter (really, when did this become a valid way to communicate).

But if you don't want to squint as the screenshot:

Quote
Zoepf said he would be updating the CEEPR paper, but in the meantime he recalculated the figures using a methodology suggested by Hall, and found that the median profit was $8.55 per hour, rather than $3.37, and only 8% of drivers lose money on on-demand platforms.

DebtFreeinPhilly

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #34 on: March 08, 2018, 06:49:29 AM »
to me it all depends on your market and if you are driving at peak profit times. We live outside of Philadelphia, and my wife drives Uber most weekends using our paid for Hyundai Santa Fe. She will drive on Friday night (6pm-1am), Saturday (10am-6pm), and Sunday (12pm-6pm). She is a SAHM during the week because day care is ridiculously expensive. Routinely, her weekly pay is $550.

Thanks!  That sure blows away the "median hourly wage is just $3.37"!!

She also did Uber on St. Simons Island (vacation spot in southern Georgia) and barely made $50/night. So it definitely depends on your local area.

KBecks

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #35 on: March 08, 2018, 06:59:47 AM »
I drove for Uber for two trips and quit.  It was mildly interesting but I realized that it was not a good job and I didn't like it.  I can do better.

That said, I was tempted to sign up as a dog walker for Wag, but I figure it is also not a great gig.  Probably better than driving people, I mean, I like dogs, but being tied to an app for jobs feels strange.  Also there is a lot of time and cost getting to your jobs.  Amazon delivery drivers seem to do well. There are also shopping services and delivering food (better than Uber, no people in your car).  Somewhat interesting if you have time on your hands and want to do something with yourself.

boyerbt

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #36 on: March 08, 2018, 09:34:38 AM »
to me it all depends on your market and if you are driving at peak profit times. We live outside of Philadelphia, and my wife drives Uber most weekends using our paid for Hyundai Santa Fe. She will drive on Friday night (6pm-1am), Saturday (10am-6pm), and Sunday (12pm-6pm). She is a SAHM during the week because day care is ridiculously expensive. Routinely, her weekly pay is $550.

Thanks!  That sure blows away the "median hourly wage is just $3.37"!!

How much mileage does she drive typically during the weekend shift? With all the depreciation being factored in, where do you stand then against the $3.37/hr claim? I am just curious.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #37 on: March 08, 2018, 09:39:33 AM »
to me it all depends on your market and if you are driving at peak profit times. We live outside of Philadelphia, and my wife drives Uber most weekends using our paid for Hyundai Santa Fe. She will drive on Friday night (6pm-1am), Saturday (10am-6pm), and Sunday (12pm-6pm). She is a SAHM during the week because day care is ridiculously expensive. Routinely, her weekly pay is $550.

Thanks!  That sure blows away the "median hourly wage is just $3.37"!!

Half of people will make more than the median though.

 Is $550 take home pay? When I was self-employeed, my taxes were near 50%- does that account for taxes? What about all expenses (that the car is paid for seems irrelevant, there is still depreciatio and gas. You generally need commercial insurance, because personal insurance generally exempts Uber driving. I'll give you that registration/inspection isn't a cost of doing Uber if you already own the car.)  If you are making $26/hour after taxes and all expenses, that is pretty decent. Though I wouldn't want to work those hours!


dodojojo

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #38 on: March 08, 2018, 01:32:59 PM »
If your concern is that you aren't paying a fair amount, just do what I do and tip generously.

That's how I assuage my guilt too.  I stopped using the car services for awhile but damnit, they are convenient. 

FallenTimber

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #39 on: March 08, 2018, 06:06:32 PM »
I think the beauty of Uber and Lyft lies in the fact that drivers are their own boss. Yes, they may only make $10 per hour some days, and $50 per hour other days. But they get to choose. Thereís no contracts, no bosses telling them which days they have to work, asking coworkers to swap shifts, etc. They simply drive when they have the time. Wife having a girls night with friends and youíre tired of watching TV? Go drive around and make an extra $100 or $200.

Like my previous post, I donít think itís a great full time career choice, but itís extra money for folks who donít have the time, resources, or desire to start their own business, but would like some extra side hustle money.

As for insurance, itís covered by Uber or Lyft. And as for taxes, the $0.54 per mile deduction will ensure you never pay a dime in taxes for your extra income.

DebtFreeinPhilly

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #40 on: March 12, 2018, 06:52:05 AM »
How much mileage does she drive typically during the weekend shift? With all the depreciation being factored in, where do you stand then against the $3.37/hr claim? I am just curious.

I will check tonight. She keeps a log every time she drives.

Half of people will make more than the median though.

Is $550 take home pay? When I was self-employeed, my taxes were near 50%- does that account for taxes? What about all expenses (that the car is paid for seems irrelevant, there is still depreciatio and gas. You generally need commercial insurance, because personal insurance generally exempts Uber driving. I'll give you that registration/inspection isn't a cost of doing Uber if you already own the car.)  If you are making $26/hour after taxes and all expenses, that is pretty decent. Though I wouldn't want to work those hours!

$550 is gross pay. She takes out $50/week for taxes. As for gas, that is paid out of the $550 and comes to about $100/week. I'll have to check the log she keeps. Insurance is $200 every 6 months, on top of our normal car insurance. To keep it simple for her, for every $500 in gross pay, she earmarks $200 for taxes, gas, insurance, and extra maintenance. Her take home pay is approximately $300, or close to $12-15/hour. Some days are better than others so her hourly rate will vary on any given day.

The $0.54/mile tax deduction should cover all of her gas, taxes, and additional expenses on the car at the end of the year. We are not factoring depreciation into our monthly financial analysis. Thats just too much in the weeds for our purposes.

Broadway2019

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #41 on: April 02, 2018, 10:49:43 AM »
to me it all depends on your market and if you are driving at peak profit times. We live outside of Philadelphia, and my wife drives Uber most weekends using our paid for Hyundai Santa Fe. She will drive on Friday night (6pm-1am), Saturday (10am-6pm), and Sunday (12pm-6pm). She is a SAHM during the week because day care is ridiculously expensive. Routinely, her weekly pay is $550. When you take out 25% for taxes and repairs, she takes home just over $400 a week.

1 week of Uber pays for all of the gas she spends driving for the month. Her avg. each night is 16mpg.

To our family, that's $1200 extra a month in our budget. This allows us to add more to retirement accounts, save for a house, and pay for trips to the in laws in Europe. we are not full on mustachian but do live a more frugal life than most.

I am also doing it part time and netting around $2300 before taxes a month. It helps pay down my debt and get myself on the right track. Sure if you are driving full time it is not worth it, but as a side hustle I have found it pretty good and very flexible.

For example, no need to ask for time off or fiddle with schedules just turn on the app when you have time and go.

Coloradoskibum

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #42 on: November 13, 2018, 12:16:45 PM »
Just came across this thread, and wanted to revive this conversation. The income of an Uber driver is actually much higher than this number, as this MIT study the article is quoting was actually found to be flawed.

Drivers are actually earning about $9 per hour, before expenses, nationally. Data: https://www.ridester.com/how-much-do-uber-drivers-make/

The study the MIT numbers are based off are actually using averages instead of median figures, which proves to be much less accurate, according to the study above.

Thoughts?

LibrarianFuzz

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #43 on: November 13, 2018, 04:04:28 PM »
I do it.

I keep meticulous logs.

Based on this, I believe I am making about $7-8 an hour after taxes. This isn't factoring in the .54/mile depreciation at all.

This is my first year doing it. I will know a little more about whether or not it is worth it for me after meeting with my accountant and doing my 2018 taxes.

But as of right now, do I think it worth it?

Well, before this, I was selling on eBay. And because I also kept meticulous logs then, I can tell you that I was making only about $2-3 an hour (including time driving around to lots of different thrift stores and garage sales, cleaning and repairing items, preparing them for sale, photographing them, listing them in great detail, etc.)

My day job schedule can be a little unpredictable - working some Saturdays, working some evenings, etc. I can't commit to a schedule that a regular retail employer would tolerate, because my hours change each week so I can't add a traditional part-time weekend and evening job, like working at Lowe's or Petco.

But I can drive whenever I want. That's the appeal.

The most frustrating thing, for me, is dead time. Logging on and waiting, waiting, waiting, to see if there's work. Or driving out to a particular area on one call, and then just sitting there and waiting to see if you can pick something else up in that area, instead of driving all the way back home again before you get another call.

FIwaysandByways

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #44 on: November 13, 2018, 06:35:55 PM »
I took an Uber last week to get to a work event. The interesting thing was that when I got into the car, the driver asked what Uber was charging me. I told him about $60. He said he would take $50 cash and save me $10. I used my company credit card so that deal was not going to work for me. I'm sure that his Uber driving career would abruptly end if Big Brother caught wind of his offer. That was the first time that I had that offer but I wonder if it is common. Has this ever happened to any of you?

DS

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #45 on: November 14, 2018, 08:01:08 AM »
I took an Uber last week to get to a work event. The interesting thing was that when I got into the car, the driver asked what Uber was charging me. I told him about $60. He said he would take $50 cash and save me $10. I used my company credit card so that deal was not going to work for me. I'm sure that his Uber driving career would abruptly end if Big Brother caught wind of his offer. That was the first time that I had that offer but I wonder if it is common. Has this ever happened to any of you?

Would definitely report. Shady activity.

GreenEggs

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #46 on: November 14, 2018, 08:39:27 AM »
I took an Uber last week to get to a work event. The interesting thing was that when I got into the car, the driver asked what Uber was charging me. I told him about $60. He said he would take $50 cash and save me $10. I used my company credit card so that deal was not going to work for me. I'm sure that his Uber driving career would abruptly end if Big Brother caught wind of his offer. That was the first time that I had that offer but I wonder if it is common. Has this ever happened to any of you?


I would have said "how about $45?".  ;)  Screw Uber. 

Sugaree

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #47 on: November 14, 2018, 08:48:14 AM »
I've considered driving for Uber as a very part-time gig.  It's only just been legal in my area for the last 4 months or so (and only because the state stepped in and told the local municipalities that they can't stop it).  I live in a college town that has no taxi service, no public transportation, and bored cops.  Granted, we only have 1.5 bars, but there are so many people who make the decision between driving home and risking a DUI charge, or walking home and risking a public intoxication charge.  I can see where Uber is a need here.  And I would just sit at home until called.

ketchup

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #48 on: November 14, 2018, 08:57:39 AM »
I took an Uber last week to get to a work event. The interesting thing was that when I got into the car, the driver asked what Uber was charging me. I told him about $60. He said he would take $50 cash and save me $10. I used my company credit card so that deal was not going to work for me. I'm sure that his Uber driving career would abruptly end if Big Brother caught wind of his offer. That was the first time that I had that offer but I wonder if it is common. Has this ever happened to any of you?

Would definitely report. Shady activity.
Yeah, that is not okay.  Uber would like to know about that. GF had something similar happen where her Uber driver tried to get her to pay tolls with cash (along with other shifty activity) and she reported it.

Cranky

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37
« Reply #49 on: November 14, 2018, 09:45:24 AM »
I take uber a lot, sporadically, mostly for medical stuff. Pretty much all the drivers do both Uber and Lyft, and a lot of them do food delivery, and most of them have some other job, too. They all say that they like driving and it fills in around other irregular or seasonal work.

One guy last week was a photographer and he said heís really busy in the summer, and mostly drives in his off-season.

It seems like it fills a need for some people.