Should You Still Drive For Uber After The Latest Rate Cuts?

January 8 is starting to be one of the worst days on the calendar for me.  The last two years in a row, Uber has announced vicious fare cuts in cities across the country on this day.

In 2015, they cut rates in 48 cities and in 2016, they cut rates in 80 cities (with 20 more to come to make it an even 100).  Obviously it’s a natural reaction to be angry but now that a couple weeks have gone by, I wanted to examine what these cuts mean for drivers, whether it still makes sense to drive for Uber and what your other options may be.

Should You Still Drive For Uber After The Latest Rate Cuts?

Should You Still Drive For Uber After The Latest Rate Cuts?

I think it’s unfortunate that a company with so much money and so much notoriety treats its drivers so poorly. Even though they call us ‘partners’ and like to tell us that ‘lower fares means higher earnings’ we all know (or should know by now) that’s just not true.  You will not find a driver who is making more today than they made two years ago, the math is pretty clear on that one.

Rates and pay are going to vary from city to city but at the end of the day, it’s really a personal decision whether the income is enough for you or not. I think it’s more than okay to be angry over fare cuts, but a lot of people need the money from this job and they may not have other options.

Personally, if I wasn’t still running this blog, I don’t know if I would still be driving for Uber.  I think there are better opportunities out there, but I also don’t think it’s my place to tell people what they should or shouldn’t be doing.

Which Cities Were Affected The Most?

You can find a full list of the new fares by city (Uber and Lyft) here in my spreadsheet, but I wanted to highlight some of the cities that had the biggest decreases (by percentage) for average trip lengths.

Whenever Uber cuts fares, the first thing a lot of people look at is the mileage rate and how it changed.  But your pay depends on more than just mileage, it’s also a function of time and base fare.  I used data from Sherpashare that gave me the average trip length for a few major cities and used that to calculate the % change of an average fare.

Top 10 Cities With The Worst Fare Cuts

The average trip length data I used was 4.54 miles and 12 minutes.  So for example, in San Diego before the Uber fare cuts, a 4.54 mile and 12 minute trip would have paid a driver $7.40 ($1.85 base charge, $1.10/mile, $0.20/mile) after Uber’s 20% commission but after the fare cuts that same fare in San Diego will only net a driver $4.23 ($0 base charge, $0.90/mile, $0.10/mile) after Uber’s 20% commission.  That’s a decrease of almost 43% which actually topped our list.

So you can see why you need to look at more than just the mileage drop in your city.  For San Diego, the base rate dropping so much was the main reason for such a large decrease.  The mileage rate only went down 18% but when you add in the base charge and the per minute drop, you are now getting paid a lot less.  You can find a full list of fare cuts by average fare here in my spreadsheet.

City% Change
San Diego-42.82%
Modesto-39.41%
Spokane-34.94%
Inland Empire-34.54%
Cleveland-28.95%
Oklahoma City-28.50%
Toledo-28.22%
Honolulu-26.15%
Atlanta-24.68%
Fresno-23.79%

How Can Detroit Be At 30 Cents Per Mile?

When I first started hearing rumors about Detroit dropping to 30 cents a mile, I figured it had to be a mistake, or a joke. How could that even be possible – right?

I’ve always found it silly when drivers say they are losing money driving for Uber.  If that were the case, then it wouldn’t make much sense to drive for them. But at 30 cents per mile, you could legitimately be losing money and not even realize it. Let’s take a further look at how that could happen.

I made another spreadsheet that allows you to enter inputs like mileage rate, minute rate, etc for your city, and you can also input a couple other variables about your driving habits (average speed and cost per mile to own/operate your vehicle).

For this example, I also conservatively estimated that your average driving speed is 45 MPH while you’re being utilized (basically your average speed while on a ride).  That’s probably a bit high/conservative, but if you’d like to change the assumptions, you can download a copy of my spreadsheet and enter your own numbers.

Using Detroit’s new rates, at an average speed of 45 MPH, I found that you can make no more than $22/hour (after Uber’s 20% cut) in a best case scenario.  So that means if you’re on a trip for an entire hour and average 45 MPH, you make $22/hour.  But that really never happens AND you also need to take into account your expenses.

It’s honestly tough to calculate this but I would estimate a decent Prius/economical car is in the 20-30 cent per mile range.  So again, if we conservatively use 20 cents per mile as the cost to own and operate your vehicle (see below for why the 2016 IRS mileage rate of 54 cents/mile shouldn’t be used here), you will only make $13/hour in a BEST case scenario.

More than likely though, your utilization will be in the 40-70% range and with an average speed of 45 MPH, you will make $9-$16 before taking expenses into account.  After expenses, you’ll likely be in the $5-$9/hour range.

It’s tough to say what rate drivers should get paid, but I can tell you that I think $5-$9 is way too low.  In fact, the minimum wage in Michigan right now (2016) is at $8.50/hour, so Uber is effectively able to bypass minimum wage laws using the current independent contractor setup.  That doesn’t seem right to me.  Especially since they are clearly banking on the fact that drivers won’t be able to calculate their true cost of ownership.

Now obviously drivers who drive below minimum wage bear some responsibility too, since they’re still driving at those rates.  But I have to imagine that a lot of them frankly aren’t good at figuring out how much they’re really making.  Why else would there still be so many Uber cars on the road in Detroit?

Uber Detroit On January 19, 2016

Uber Detroit On January 19, 2016

Are These Rates Fair?

It’s easy to look at Uber’s latest rate cuts and say they aren’t fair, but Uber is really free to charge whatever they want. It’s their company, after all. But the reality is in certain places and for certain people, this is turning into a minimum wage job.  You should see that pretty clearly from the example above.

And the reason why you hear so many different opinions on whether it makes sense driving for Uber or not is because there is a lot of variability with this line of work. Some drivers are frankly a lot better drivers than others and thus make a lot more money.

The top Uber drivers probably do a lot of research online, avoid things like chasing surge, are constantly finding the best times/places to work and keep meticulous records. The worst drivers tend to be newer (not their fault) and probably drive around aimlessly looking/hoping for fares.

Obviously, there’s some element of luck involved in what rides you get and how much money you’ll make, but over time, the better Uber drivers will make a lot more than the worse ones.

Should You Still Drive For Uber?

I think the answer to that question all comes down to how much money you’re actually earning.  It’s easy to see how much you’re bringing in on a weekly basis, and it’s not even that difficult to figure out how much you owe on taxes.  But figuring out the cost of owning a vehicle can be tough.

High Income, Low Expenses

When you combine high income and low expenses you can still be profitable

Low Income, High Expenses

When you combine low income and high expenses the result isn’t pretty

For 2016, the IRS allows for a 54 cent per mile deduction (down from 57.5 cents per mile in 2015) but that is NOT the cost of operating your vehicle. I see way too many drivers making this mistake time and time again. The IRS mileage rate is the deduction you will get, and it could actually offset a large portion of your income.

I really think every single driver should be using a service like QuickBooks to track income and expenses since it could save you a ton of money. As an example:

Let’s say you’re a full-time driver who puts about 1,000 miles (combination of on-trip miles and dead miles) a week on your car. If you earn $650 that week after Uber’s cut, you would be entitled to a $540 deduction ($0.54*1,000 miles).

If you met up with drivers and spent $110 for food (meals by yourself while on the job aren’t deductible, but meals with other drivers where you talk shop should be, make sure to confirm with a CPA) during the week, you’re now at $650 in total deductions.

That means that your income of $650 is reduced to $0 and you pay $0 in taxes.

But where drivers get confused is that you still need to account for the cost to own and operate your vehicle. We wrote an article about how to do that, but if you’re in a fuel efficient economical car, you’re probably around 20-30 cents/mile.

Once you have your total expenses, you subtract it from your net and that is the amount you ‘really made’ during that week. That’s the number you should be calculating and looking at to determine whether driving for Uber makes sense for you or not.

Will Rates Ever Go Back Up?

I think it’s a safe bet that rates won’t be headed back up any time soon. Uber says these cuts are temporary, but they’ve said that before and they weren’t.  If you’re wondering why they won’t go up, Uber has actually made it pretty clear why.

Uber isn’t competing with taxis or Lyft at this point, they are competing with the cost of owning a car itself. Uber wants it to be cheaper for passengers to rely solely on Uber for all your transportation needs than it is to own a car. That’s the reason why Uber has lowered fares for 3 years in a row despite currently being 60-70% cheaper than a taxi (the LA taxi mileage rate for example is $2.70/mile and the current Uber mileage rate in LA is $0.90/mile)

What Are Drivers Doing About Fare Cuts?

Beyond angry e-mails, I’ve seen a lot of talk about driver committees forming in local cities. These groups of drivers are coordinating things like 1 hour log-outs and meetings in order to bring awareness to their plight.

As we’ve seen in the past, strikes have not been successful, but I do think a local grassroots approach can have an impact. When Uber forced Black car drivers to accept UberX requests in Dallas, drivers were outraged and after days of protests, they actually got Uber to change their position.

I think organizing on a local level is the way to go, and while it can start with the online driver community, it has to expand to in-person events too. Sadly, most drivers don’t read The Rideshare Guy and aren’t on online forums or Facebook groups. So limiting your outreach to online avenues won’t get enough traction since frankly there are just so many drivers out there.  It has to be done in concession with in-person rallies in order to be successful.

There Are Other Options Out There

Drivers can help with these efforts in many ways, but it all depends on how motivated you are. Other than organizing, I think the first thing you need to do is at least sign up for Lyft, and if you have delivery options like Postmates and DoorDash, get onboard with those too. If you don’t, there may be other on-demand companies like Instacart, Washio, Caviar, Sprig, Amazon Flex, etc. These smaller companies tend to be in the bigger cities, but if you’re in a small city, there are options outside on-demand companies too.

RSG contributor Scott Van Maldegiam has been doing lots of deliveries for a company called Dynamex in Chicago, and he had such a good experience there, he ended up applying for a full time job in the back office and was hired! These opportunities are definitely tougher to find, but there are lots of companies out there doing things like last mile delivery for Amazon. It may take some Googling to find them, but they are there.

Ultimately, fare cuts will hurt drivers’ bottom lines and some will quit but many will keep on driving.  Drivers have invested a lot into this gig and although they aren’t happy about fare cuts, quitting and finding something else isn’t always an option.  But if you expect Uber to raise rates or come to your rescue, you need to wise up.  There’s a lot to like about this job, but this probably won’t be the last set of rate cuts that we see.

Drivers, what do you think about Uber’s latest fare cuts?  Now that a couple weeks have passed, have you decided to quit, keep on driving or look for something else?

For more reading on this topic, check out this post on Medium.

Make Every Mile Count

Did you know that every 1,000 business miles can save you $540 in taxes? Never miss another mile with the new QuickBooks Self-Employed automatic mileage tracker.

-Harry @ RSG

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone
The following two tabs change content below.
I'm Harry, the owner and founder of The Rideshare Guy Blog and Podcast. I used to be a full-time engineer but now I'm a rideshare blogger! I write about my experience driving for Uber, Lyft, and other services and my goal is to help drivers earn more money by working smarter, not harder.
  • Mike

    I had to quit. Price cuts coupled with an amendment giving Uber permission to contact my insurance Co. did it for me. I wanna get to and from my real job with no problems. Waiting on the deactivation notice. Uber has got an army of indentured servants in my market so they won’t miss me. But am still addicted to the whole TNC thing, so i just frequent your page for my fix. LOL

    • Haha well I’ll take that as a compliment. So what’s next for you Mike?

      • Mike

        Mos def a complement. You’re one hell of a journalist for an Engineer.. Lol. As far as what’s next, I will just focus more on my full time gig, now that am not moonlighting as an Uner driver.. Maybe find a part-time gig to replace uber..

    • Alex G

      Hey Mike, what do you mean with an amendment giving uber permission to contact your insurance company? Does this mean that the recent amendment i accepted gives uber the right to contact my personal auto insurance company? My personal auto insurance company has no idea I am working for uber. If they find out they will drop me. Does this apply to drivers in NJ? Should I worry that uber is going to “rat” me out with my personal auto insurance company? If they do that I’m screwed. Let me know thanks

      • Mike

        Not sure about NJ, but down here in GA, the latest amendment is specifically asking for your permission to let uber verify your insurance with the company you’re with, if need be. Once an insurance company finds out and drops you for being in the TNC business, your pretty much blacklisted from all the other major companies… I would think.. Since they share information on a lot of things in regards to insurance policies of customers.. The alternative would be to obtain an insurance coverage with a TNC option (if available in NJ), but that will be substantially higher in cost. I will try to attach the two pages of the short amendment. Cheers brah..

        • In Los Angeles we now have Metro Mile insurance company which are Uber and Lyft friendly.

          https://www.metromile.com/

          50.00 dollars a month and .02 cents a mile or something like that? I am signing up with them with my new Uber vehicle. Keeping separate insurance policies for my different cars.

        • Alex G

          Unfortunately NJ does not have any Rideshare insurance. At least not at the moment. So I have no choice but to use my personal auto insurance, since I can’t afford to pay $500 a month for commercial auto insurance. I recently accepted a new contract with uber here in NJ but I don’t recall anything about uber contacting my personal auto insurance to “rat” me out. If they do that they will screw me over and I won’t be able to work for them anymore. What about Lyft? Is Lyft also doing the same thing? can I drive for Lyft knowing they won’t stab me in the back and screw me over with my personal auto insurance company? If that’s the case I’ll have to go back to delivering pizza. At least with that I don’t have to worry about insurance issues since food delivery has no passengers and they will never know I used the car to deliver food. Ok thanks

      • Mike

        First page.

      • Hey guys, AAA, Geico, 21st Century and others hate Uber and Lyft drivers. They will not accept your claims. You will be terminated if you have too many small claims. I noticed I was being hit by alot of people in a small amount of time while working for Uber and Lyft here in LA. I put dash cams in all my cars. I even had the California DMV wanted a recorded explanation of why I was in 4 accidents in a year and a half. I had to tell them that I became a target in LA for people running into me while working for Uber and Lyft. None of the accidents were my fault. One was a bike rider at UCLA who hit me and wanted money. Another hit me in Beverly Hills and he did not even have a valid insurance policy. Yet he sent lawyers and private investigators after me, and he got me deactivated at Uber. I don’t like driving at UCLA. I do like driving at USC. You have to me very careful driving in LA. You have to have dash cams in your car recording all the time.

        • Alex G

          How much does a dash cam cost? Where can I buy one for cheapest price? Walmart? Ok thanks

          • therideshareguy.com/the-most-epic-dashcam-review-for-rideshare-drivers-ever/

          • Hello Alex G.,

            I actually buy the cheap ones from Ebay.com

            They cost anywhere from 18.00 to 25.00 each. You just have to buy a 32 GB micro sd card. They cost 7.00 to 15.00 dollars. Then when you set it up, hook it up by cord to your lighter plug, every time you start the car it turns on and records. 32 GB holds about 2/3 of a day. But it records over itself. So if something were to happen. You need to take the sd card out and download that file to a computer. Then reformat the SD card. Here are some pics. They mount to the windshield.

        • Kaz411

          I honestly don’t think UBER or LYFT contacts our insurance- they know we’ll be dropped. GEICO is the worst when it comes to Rideshare, theyre finding out somehow. Insurance companies have access to databases like Lexis Nexis which reports income etc and if you’ve applied for any credit and used UBER or LYFT as a source of income, it may be on a credit report and insurance companies have access to that info when it comes to renewal time. Plus using your real name on message boards, etc I think is getting people in trouble too. I recommend people to find a small insurance company, stay away from the mainstream ones, so what if you may pay a few extra bucks, it may be worth it. USAA and FARMERS are allowing Rideshare in certain states- not all so you need to do your research and read your declarations. Most companies do not allow this and this needs to change.

          • Yea we’ve got insurance options here: therideshareguy.com/rideshare-insurance-options-for-drivers/

  • Stephen Grossman

    Uber has past the point of economic viability for the average driver…Often there is comment about the best drivers but truth is this is about average driver…who may well be losing money…if Uber lost all the drivers who were losing money, they might have a significant shortfall in drivers and responsiveness to rider requests…We all need to have an easy to use worksheet to see if we have made money on a weekly basis…Maybe then the reality of Ubers fare changes will become an issue fr them

    • Maybe, maybe not. All depends on what people are willing to work for.

      • Stephen Grossman

        I’m sure most dangerous not really know what they are truly earning. It’s an easy job to get and figuring the real costs are much trickier

      • Stephen Grossman

        Most dont know what they are making net…and just see the cashflow of today…and even if they did, Uber is sophisticated to know exactly what their drivers are grossing and netting and in my view have some obligation…its not just business, its about responsibility to ALL their stakeholders

  • rrosen1

    Thanks Harry this is really good. I think I am going to be good because with my situation this will slow down the amount I need to take out of retirement. I just went into a convenience store where they are hiring. Starting is $10.50/ hr for the first six months and it goes up a dollar after six months. I think I would swallow my gun if I had to do that. This job represents freedom after so many years of having to answer to the boss.

    • Gotcha, so where does your pay with rideshare compare to that $10.50/hr? If you made say $8/hr with Uber, would you still pick Uber over convenience store or what?

      • rrosen1

        I’d rather have a root canal. I am finding that. I can fulfill the minimum rides for the guarantee driving short runs. I need one ride for the $12/ hr 2 per hour for the $18. The surges are extra.

  • AVL Taxi

    I’m not sure you’re counting empty miles in your cost numbers? In the taxi biz around here there are 1.5 empty miles for each occupied miles.

    • My empty or dead miles , same in trucking (dead head) I try to keep about 10 miles from my front door.

      I will leave my app running until I reach my driveway. I have been pinged right as I turn onto my street, but that rarely happens and just to make sure I turn it off about 3 blocks from the house.

      Worse case scenario is being out in San Gabriel Valley or similar bedroom communities where nothing is happening at all after about 2:30 am on the weekends and about 10 pm on weekdays.

      I’ve been caught in SGV at 3 am (about 30 miles from home) and caught in Simi Valley after 9 pm and had to drive back towards the house to get a ping in both cases…

    • Good point. I did that for two reasons:

      1. My point still gets across and the math stays simple.

      2. Uber/Lyft are heading towards more and more efficiencies which will reduce deadhead/empty miles but they’ll likely also lower rates to make up for it I would guess (back to back rides, uber pool, destination feature, etc).

  • Uber People has some of the most negative people on the planet. If you really read that site frequently then your vision of what’s really happening my be blurred a bit.

    I have battled the reduced rates by driving slightly more and last weekend I matched what I made on NYE last weekend. What I did to do it was work six hours on Tues as an experiment but pretty much did what I always did which is start about 9 pm and work till about 3:30 am.

    This week I will add two hours to each of my three work days. So I will try to start no later than 8 pm and out till 4 am. This is fine short term because I will be on a month long vacation in Feb.

    Beyond that I only need it to pay down the debt created and reach my second goal of 2016.

    After that I don’t anticipate any further reductions so as long as I can make $250-$300 a week for about 20 hours, I will operate in the red, which means overall I won’t pay taxes so besides a little extra wear on the car my exposure is minimal.

    • Agreed, I don’t understand how people live their life like that. It’s no wonder they’re all still working for a company they absolutely hate. So what’s your game plan? Pay off debt and then what?

      • I don’t have much debt anyway, so it will take about 5 months to pay down to below 8% utilization on my credit cards.

        After that buy the car I wanted in the first place but banks wouldn’t let me borrow enough to get.

        In between that I will refocus on my DJ business.

  • renrag

    I’m in the San Diego market and have definitely felt the pinch. But I’ll still keep driving. I’m just doing it for a new car and some extra spending cash. My day job pays the bills so I’m not worried. If I ended up actually losing money, then I’d give my car back and do something different. Until that happens, I’ll be driving part-time.

  • M_Silicon_Valley

    only driving during lyft guaranteed minimum hours now. hoping to get the 1 ride per hour requirement; which does not always come in the driver saturated bay area. I notice you include SF but not the lower Silicon Valley rates for either platform. was wondering just how much worse off we are south of the city? this was an ok part time gig for a while; not so much anymore.

    • Yea that’s true, they split it up since I originally created this spreadsheet.

  • ray wood

    I drive or drive in San Diego for almost a year but this was so dramatic of a rate cut that it’s just not worth it anymore. San dingos cost of living is so high anyways it doesn’t make sense to keep driving. We have some of the highest gas in the country and strick smog laws that practically require us to purchase a new car every four years at this rate you are paying to drive.
    By the way Harry it was a major pain in the ass to sigh up in order to post on this form

    • Yea as you can see from the example, SD got hit the hardest. And thx for the Disqus fdbck.

  • Christian Perea

    Honestly one of your best posts dude. You hit all of my thoughts on this.

  • Andrea Loewen

    so on the spot Harry. I drive in san diego and I honestly wana cry sometimes after I see how much I am making….definitely not worth it anymore.

  • Andrea Loewen

    if we just all stop driving for a day or two…

    • Stop during Feb I won’t be here. I support massive strikes or like what the teachers are doing in Detroit a sick out. Even if I was here, I would sit out one day because it’s not going to kill me.

      In fact with enough notice I can sit out longer. The problem is the majority of people in this country are self-centered. Unfortunately that means similar to herding cats; people will not support a strike. They will make excuses a mile along, from making their lease payments to supporting their elderly parents.

      With some savings and forth-thought a strike would be easy to do, but we’ve been taught for a generation not to save money, not to save for retirement, etc and looks what’s happening.

      It’s just wishful thinking, the fundamentals needed to have a strike in the United States don’t exist without a formal union.

  • Alex G

    Good post. I appreciate your honesty Harry. I think I’m better off delivering pizza for dominos. At least with them I don’t have to worry about issues with a gap in my auto insurance and I can use an older car. Also the tips are in cash and no need to report it to irs. And they pay hourly wage as w2 employee, no need to worry about paying ss taxes

    • Thx, I think for a lot of full time drivers, delivery jobs like that may pay better.

    • According to Harry’s business partner he makes more money doing ride share for 50 hours a week then doing pizza runs for Domino’s and he knows because that’s what he was doing before joining Uber and then Lyft. Go back to Brian’s first post on You Tube about what he was doing and why he was making the switch to ride share.

      You need to explain to me how delivering pizza is more profitable.

      • Alex G

        Hey Anthony. I appreciate your feedback. I don’t know where you live but in NJ the uber rates aren’t that good anymore. I worked for uber 2 weeks ago and after they slashed rates here in NJ. I was disappointed with my earnings. I know in other states the pay is higher so I guess it depends on where a person lives. The same applies for pizza delivery. If you deliver in a good area the money is good. I have a friend who makes $800 a week working for dominos but he works in a good area where he gets good tips. He doesn’t deliver in low income areas because the tips are bad. Also, most of his income is in cash so he doesn’t report it. He earns like $350 in check and $500 in cash every week. So it’s advantageous for tax reasons also. The advantage of delivering food is there is you don’t have to worry about insurance issues since you only deliver food and you can use an older car. I guess for some people delivering food is a good option. But of course it’s more physical work than Rideshare driving

        • I live in the Los Angeles area. I work ride share on three more profitable days, Thur, Fr, Sat. I make between $300-$350 a week mostly with Uber and a little bit with Lyft. Lyft isn’t as popular here so I get few pings. I drive quite a bit for my other job in merchandising that’s where the majority of the 22K on my 2015 Accent came from, not ride share.

          If you don’t mind working 10-12 hours a day you can make roughly the same strictly ride share. The last three Uber/Lyft drivers I met, do it full time when I don’t.

          They make $600-$800 a week despite the rate cuts.I guess at some point they made $1,000 a week with less work, but most people think near term and not long term. At some point the $1+ a mile wasn’t going to last.

          I work slightly more. I used to come home between 3:30 and 4 am, but now it’s 5-6 am, specially if I don’t start earlier.

          This is just a means to an end, not going to even attempt to raise a family on it, so after 2016 I will likely stop, I’ve been doing it since Oct of 2015.

  • Bruce L-enner

    I feel like Uber chopped my balls off.

  • Jose Pablos

    Travis formula:
    Uber more Low rates = (more happy enthusiastics, dynamics,efficients drivers) + (more cheap, frugal, entitled, rude, libertine, disgusting, arrogant, tclassless, shameless drunks pseudo riders) + (less taxis)
    Lmao

  • DiddleMySkittle

    Uber is still doing the hourly guarantees right? I checked the email and it said it would only be available for a limited time, but it didn’t specify how long. Without that I would absolutely be making under minimum wage before expenses.

  • Matt

    I have been to the Uber office in Los Angeles about a half a dozen times in past 2 months. Every time I was there I noticed the same thing. That is, besides the Uber employees, I was the only one there whose native tongue was English. Because of this I think that getting LA drivers to organize and take some sort of action would be extremely difficult. By the way, unfortunately these ESL drivers weren’t from South of the border. Hablo Español. I’m well traveled with over 25 countries under my belt and my best guess is they were mostly Eastern European drivers with some Middle Eastern and African drivers as well. Intuition tells me they’re using their uncle’s brother in laws 2nd cousins drivers license. And, there are probably 3 different people driving on that non commercial account to earn just enough money to put bread on the table for their family, you know, the American dream.

    • yamdigger

      South-Asian Uber drivers are doing the same thing here in Toronto

      • And this is a problem because they accept the reduced rates because they have an end goal and you don’t?

    • This sort of analyst coming from American Whites cracks me up. What I notice is that Americans love to complain, while immigrants just shut up and do the work that needs to be done. Americans over-analyze simplistic things like buying vs. leasing a car. Immigrants buy new cars because it’s easier to get financed and captives make more money on new car sales than used. They deal with the depercation buy being a regular customer of a dealer, IE returning very two or three years to get another car and another great deal.

      Immigrants succeed because they don’t complain about the working conditions, it’s only temporary and a means to an end. People trying to make ride share a livelihood proves that short term thinking rules the day with most Americans.

      When I got in I already had a plan (several of them out) and I believe by the end of 2016, actually New Years Day 2017 I will have picked up my last PAX. That does not mean at any time during my switch to other businesses means I will never pick up a PAX again, it just means I will no longer depend on ride share as I do currently which makes up about 3/4 of my total income.

      So what if two or three people are driving for both companies with the same car. By starting an official small business they can list who the employees are and the one car they use for the business as a contract driver for ride share companies.

      In-fact that gives me an idea.

      Do me a favor and keep your thinly veiled bigoted rants to yourself.

      • Matt

        “Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
        With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
        Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
        A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
        Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
        Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
        Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
        The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

        “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
        With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
        Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
        The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
        Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
        I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

        I don’t know what country you pledge your allegiance to or who taught you how to read but America is nation of immigrants.

        Racist? You are the only bringing up skin color. I’m pointing out that it would be difficult to form a union and strike because LA Uber drivers are so culturally diversified and probably working illegally in my country. They aren’t better than me or more hard working than me. They don’t have a leg to stand on if they are here illegally. They can’t complain because they would expose themselves and be deported.

        If my ancestors had your mentality, we would be ruled by the Queen of England still.

        Because you lack the backbone to stand up for yourself, doesn’t give you the right to criticize my work ethic. Your master, Travis, isn’t going to reward you for trolling the internet and luring red blooded Americans into some BLM debate.

  • Sara Easler

    Thanks for writing this Harry!

  • Kevin Reynolds

    Honestly, I don’t like the idea of driving more to make the same as I did before, but I have a pretty small budget to work with, so it pretty much evens out for me. As long as I continue to make $450 a week without struggle, I’m happy as a clam.

    Although, as much as I like the job (beats menial factory work), I don’t like how uber is treating us, their drivers. It feels like they’re trying to continually fix what isn’t broken, and it comes off like we’re the ones to get the brunt of it. I hope that this all is only temporary, and maybe one day, it can all come to a head and things will begin to improve financially… or maybe I’m just too optimistic.

  • Kaz411

    I have been driving for a year, just on weekends only, and I am sick and astonished at the direction UBER has gone in and LYFT just copy cats. And to think that drivers actually do this full time. I’m getting tired of dealing with cheap entitled passengers, few tips (even on LYFT) and I am really convinced that the tax write-off is the only good thing now. It rarely surges here and when it does, they’re small and passengers still bitch about it. When I file my taxes in Feb, I’m claiming 10,000 miles, car washes and a few other things my accountant will approve. My IRS tax debt should be paid off when I file and I may use this extra income to qualify for another mortgagea while I have the extra income- after that I am done with UBER and will only drive LYFT on occasion. Not worth it. I am upside down with my car note due to all of the mileage. The good part of this job besides the tax write offs, is just getting out and meeting people. My market is pretty good this time of year but it will be very slow this summer and I will likely just do LYFT every other weekend just to stay active. AZ now has Rideshare insurance through FARMERS, its about time but I don’t even think I’m going to bother with it right now, though I hear it’s fairly cheap. There are states that dont even have RIdeshare coverage yet and there is no way any UBER X can afford commercial. No way. I say take the risk or don’t drive. And Detroit, .30 a mile??? I would love to meet the UBER jerk whose idea was to do this-I honestly don’t know how Travis or any of these UBER execs sleep at night, proof that greed and evil do exist. There are drivers that do this full time and they will surely not make their rent or anything with these new fares. I would hope everyone would update their resumes, learn some skills, regardless of where you come from and get out of UBER. Its easy to get sucked into this because its so flexible and you can work when you want but its coming at a BIGGER cost than ever. With all of the constant rate cuts and tipping BS we are all dealing with, you can’t make a living doing this. If there is no UBER X available anywhere and constant writing to our Legislature, UBER is going to have to straighten up eventually. This whole independent contractor thing needs to be re-evaluated. This is America folks. Unfortunately, some drivers have no skills to do anything else but drive and its sad, they’ve been sucked into the vortex of driving and it’s because its easy and convenient. Me and a few drivers have written our congressman, along with the Governor on the plethora of issues these awful fares are going to present. Phoenix hasn’t been hit with another rate cut yet but ours is coming in FEB after the Phoenix OPEN, that is a fact. Seriously, some drivers in the USA are practically driving for free unless passengers start smartening up and get to tipping, which has been a sore spot with a lot of us. I seriously recommend getting out the tip jar and hanging signage on tipping, who cares what UBER says. Not fair or right to tell us we cant.. Amazes me how ignorant passengers are on this and some newbies are still refusing tips- stop!!! We deserve them and you should accept them graciously. And talk about negative people-join the UBER DRIVERS FB page- toxic dump but most of it seems to be coming from full time drivers who are pissed and don’t want to do anything else.

  • Amy

    Hi Harry, has it been brought to your attention that in addition to the fare cuts, Uber at some time during the last 6 mos has changed the order in which they deduct the safe rider fee and the commission percentage so that they are ultimately receiving an even higher deduction from each fare?

    To clarify, Uber used to deduct the safe rider fee from the fare before taking the commission fee from that derivative. Now it appears Uber is deducting the commission percentage from the fare prior to deducting the safe rider fee.

    I reviewed all contracts and addendums to try and confirm if the calculation method was identified in the contracts either prior or current and was unable to identify such clear method of calculation. (I actually discovered this change simply by reviewing trips last summer compared to more recent trips). Sneaky, eh?!

    I reached out to Uber for some explanation to make sure I wasn’t imagining this and was hoping I would be provided some sort of truthful answer or contractual language explaining such that I somehow missed. Unfortunately my response from Uber was to try and assure me that their methods of calculation had not changed. They also went as far as to include in the email their method of deduction that indicated they subtract the safe rider fee first before the percentage deduction.

    I double and triple checked prior trip history for comparison and sure enough they flat out lied to me in their response and hoped again I wouldn’t notice.

    It should be further noted that Uber has also been deducting (against verified contract) 25% of fares rather than 20%. I realize they upped the percentage for new drivers, but for drivers activated prior to October 2015, the deduction as noted per contract is 20%.

    Despite repeated acknowledgements by Uber that the deduction is incorrect, they have done nothing to mitigate the damage. My expectation is that they have pulled this trick on several seasoned drivers hoping that most would never notice and call them out on it.

    When it comes to working for Uber, check and double check everything- and remember you have the right to opt out of their arbitration agreement!!!

    • Hmm I don’t think that’s right, can you fwd me your statement and we’ll take a look?

  • CS

    Uber has switched to a background check company (Checkr) which has an “F” rating by the BBB. Not a good place to give all your personal info like your SS#. I drive an XL vehicle and net between (-$5/hr.) to $8/hr. after expenses and a big decrease in fares in the SF East Bay area. Riders love the grapes but the pickers…I mean drivers are suffering.

    • Is that why they’re rated F though, for security issues? Or bc people fail bg checks and then leave them a bad rating..

  • Alan Coleman

    I drive for both Uber and Lyft in Cincinnati. I get at least 5x the number of trips on Uber than I do on Lyft. I can leave my Lyft app up and running for 8 hours and not get a call. When I DO get a call on Lyft, the trip is usually 20-25 minutes away from my location. Not about to run that far for a likely cancellation! Cincinnati has never been a great alternate transportation town, though!

    • Yea Lyft is not a viable option in that case. Friday’s article about delivery companies not named PM/DD may interest you 🙂

  • Lawrence Milne

    You are crazy if you think the IRS is being generous by giving $.575 / mile (2015) as a car expense deduction. The IRS is not Santa Claus. They calculate a very conservative cost of running a vehicle and allow that as an unsupported deduction (ie no receipts or depreciation calculation). In most cases your costs will be higher than that. I have talked to many Uber drivers who think if they deduct gas from what they get from Uber that is their profit. INSANE. Uber’s business model is unbelievably smart. Get thousands of people to supply the capital, time and risk – and Uber takes a huge cut. Look at your Schedule C of your tax return – that is actually how much you are making. If you are smart enough to record all your mileage and hours – from the time you turn on the app till you get home again – you will get your real per/hour earnings.

  • yamdigger

    I’ve totally lost my enthusiasm for Uber driving.

    • so what’s next then?

      • yamdigger

        That’s a good question. I really enjoy the work itself. But I don’t like the feeling I get of being used everytime the fare drops. Toronto city council promised to regulate TNC’s this spring and one local insurance company just announced that they’re offering a policy for rideshare drivers. I’m waiting to see what the city council comes up with; Particularly as regards fare regulations. If they come with something similar to New York City, then I’ll still be in the game. But if all they do is officially endorse the race to the bottom of the barrel, I’m done.

  • Mrmojo78

    Hello all, I just signed up to drive for uber last night. I need to get my car inspection before I can take any fares. Before I go and spend the money… Are any drivers in the Chicagoland area making decent money? Please let me know if this venture is worth a go. Thanks guys

    • I think you can get a free inspection from Uber no?

      therideshareguy.com/how-to-find-free-vehicle-inspections-for-uber-and-lyft-drivers/

      Honestly, it really depends on your definition of decent and what you’re coming from. Best way to find out is to give it a try. If you hate it, you can always quit 🙂

  • Jeffrey

    I had to quit and I really liked driving too. Back to college 🙁

  • Ian Campbell

    hey there. we dropped to .80/mile today in SLC. I noticed a slight impact. Had a very slow start to the day, ended up at only $70 for the mileage target of 160 that i have including the deadhead back toward home.

    usually making around $100 or more if had more lengthy trips or a good trip back toward home after being near the goal.

    this is mainly because I live in an odd area that has plenty of riders to the airport but its a bit unpredictable when those requests come and if you actually get the request or another driver happens to be in the best spot to get it so you end up waiting longer for yours. the demand is really low nearby other than those, just the occasional train station pickup or odd commute ride. once i GET into the main downtown neighborhood and adjacent ones, then the demand is fine. Especially lyft, it is extremely active there but very very sparse by my neighborhood.

    given the incentive in place, i think overall the most efficient thing to do will be just working a little bit in the specified peak hours that have a guaranteed gross fare per hour, somewhere where it is sure to be high demand, even if it means proactively going to that location with some overhead mileage.

    • Gotcha, have you been able to get a couple regulars that travel a lot, maybe you can build up your passenger network a little bit that way?

      • Ian Campbell

        Been attempting to, my fleet is branded in a subtle way (not as a ridesharing adv) and in the car I have posted contact info to an fb page set up for this purpose. We’ll see if I can yield some regulars to help smooth this out.

        Realizing in the end it’s better for me to start doing Lyft almost exclusively again, like i did whilst waiting for uber signup to go through. Basically just heading to the super active Lyft areas of the city each day rather than waiting near home for those airport uber runs (airport is 7 miles from the super active downtown region). This will net me guaranteed power driver bonuses. And I always make more tips helping balance the fees cut thanks to lyft’s in app tipping. This plan puts my deadhead mileage up front, and works best when I get a ride back toward my home neighborhood late in the day to cut down the final deadhead count.

  • Ashley Roachclip

    Today gas prices in California are expected to spike due to the change over to summer blend. That’s oil company speak for, it’s time to bend you over again. Last year when gas prices soared to near $4 a gallon, Uber was very slow to increase rates to reflect the increased cost. They have shown over and over again that Uber and drivers are really not true partners. In a real partnership, all parties either enjoy profits or loses together. But drivers and Uber are NOT partners. Uber makes the same profit, the rider gets the cheaper rate, and the driver takes in the the shorts.

    • Yea I saw that. Unfortunately, you’re right. So you have to decide whether the trade-off is worth it or not 🙂

  • BrotherWill

    I have been driving in Detroit for a week and have determined this is so not worth it. I’m making about $5 an hour driving and spending long hours after my day job away from my wife and kids. I spent over $100 in a week on gas and put about 300+ miles on my car. SOOOOOO not worth $5 an hour. Figured out pretty quick the surge zone are pure bs simply to get driver on the road. My best surge was only 1.6 on a $4 dollar ride and I have only gotten a surge 3 times. I’m done.

    • Can’t say I blame you, maybe keep an eye out for guarantees/high surge/etc and you may be able to make a few easy bucks here and there.

  • Lauren Cannon

    I started driving for Uber shortly after they came to San Diego. On a Saturday, I made about $23/hour, which doesn’t include late night surge pricing. Pretty good, right? But it didn’t last. I started noticing my hourly average gradually go down. More Uber drivers on the road (more competition) and lower rates certainly didn’t help. In December of 2015, I was averaging $5/hour. I maintained a high rating, so I know that didn’t have anything to do with the dramatic drop in wages. After nearly two years on the road, I decided to hang up my keys for good. Last week, I was bored, and wanted to see if things had changed, so I set out on the road one more time. In 4 hours, I made a whopping $10. Needless to say, my keys are back on the hook, yet again. I feel bad for the people who rely on Uber and Lyft for full time income. Uber better get it together, otherwise drivers are going to drop like flies.

    • Yea it’s definitely more competitive. There’s still opportunity imo but you have to be willing to drive the places/times other drivers aren’t in order to really maximize your earnings.