The 2018 Ridester Independent Driver-Earnings Survey (RIDES) has estimated that Uber drivers make less than $10 an hour after expenses are taken into consideration. Ridester estimates the median hourly wage for half of the drivers in the U.S. to be only $9.73 after driving costs are factored in.
The study was conducted over the summer months and analyzed data from 2,625 drivers from the U.S. Drivers were required to send screenshots of their earnings page on the Uber app. The median earning for Uber-X drivers was estimated to be $13.70 before tips and $14.73 after tips.
After the cost of auto insurance, gas and car depreciation are taken into account, the median hourly wage was brought back down to less than $10 an hour. Almost $5 from an Uber-X driver’s hourly wage is used for gas, auto insurance coverage and maintenance.
This study also did not factor in the cost of rideshare insurance which provides insurance coverage for Uber drivers while they are waiting on passengers, coverage that Uber does not provide. Although rideshare insurance is affordable and protects an Uber driver from gaps in insurance coverage, factoring its cost will further reduce the median hourly wage for Uber drivers.
This puts drivers studied below the poverty line for a family of three, even while working 40 hours a week. Of the drivers surveyed, 50 percent of these rideshare drivers said Uber was their only source of income. Another 70 percent were employed by Uber for less than two years. The highest median hourly wage was reported in New York City at $21.92 and the lowest was in Akron, Ohio at $4.94.
Median earnings increased significantly for Uber Black and Uber Select drivers. The median hour wage for Uber Black drivers was $24.87. However, this group of rideshare drivers only made up 0.8 percent of the drivers studied.
RIDES also surveyed drivers about corporate leadership, specifically Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. 22.8 percent of drivers believe Uber is seen in a more positive light since Khosrowshahi took over. As a whole, the study group gave Uber’s leadership 2.9 stars out of five.
Similiar studies have been conducted by different researchers to try and estimate the hourly wages of rideshare drivers. The Economic Policy Institute estimates the hourly wage of drivers after fees and expenses to be at $11.27. The latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated the hourly wage for rideshare drivers at $11.96 in 2017.