Ten years ago, if you didn’t have a car or didn’t want to take public transportation you had one option of getting around quickly: a taxi. But in the last ten years, two companies have shaken up that monopoly in a big way. Uber and Lyft both offer a ride service that’s often cheaper than taking a taxi, and have become as popular, if not more popular, than taxis because of it.
Along with revolutionizing transportation, both companies have offered a chance for thousands of people to make money being a driver for one of the two companies. Becoming a driver is as simple as signing up for an installment loan, but the question most people have is equally simple: how much do you make as a driver? It’s actually a little more complicated than you’d think to answer, but it’s also what we’re here today to do.
The first thing to understand is that the average hourly income of a driver varies widely from area to area. Because both Uber and Lyft charge based on demand, the rate charged for a trip varies depending on how many passengers and drivers there are in a given area, and actually varies even based on time of day. That being said, the average income for an Uber driver is around $14 and hour, while a Lyft driver makes a whole dollar more at $15 an hour.
While that’s a decent income, it leaves something to be desired if you’re trying to survive off of rideshare driving as a living – especially if your car starts needing repairs from all the miles you’re putting on it. We’ve written before about the difficulty of budgeting income from a part time job, and it’s a challenge many drivers face. It’s why, for many, being a driver is a part time job for someone whose driving income is only supplementary to their main one.
Now that we know how much Uber and Lyft drivers make, it’s interesting to consider how working as one measures up to being a taxi driver. The average taxi driver only makes around $11 an hour, which is significantly lower than a driver for a ride sharing service. But then, if those numbers are accurate, why haven’t all taxi drivers jump ship and become Uber or Lyft drivers?
While some taxi drivers have indeed jumped ship, the truth is that while you may make more money as a rideshare driver, you also have less job security as a contractor, and you’re responsible for providing your own vehicle as well as maintaining and repairing it when it breaks down. Those four extra dollars can disappear real quick.