Have you ever wondered how many Uber and Lyft drivers are out there? We decided to do some research ourselves. Today, RSG contributor Melissa Berry answers the question of “how many Uber and Lyft drivers are there in the United States?” Plus, how many Uber drivers are there worldwide, and is Uber truly the leader in rideshare internationally?
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It seems like there are more rideshare drivers than ever on the roads these days, so it’s a question many of us wonder – how many Uber and Lyft drivers are out there? Whether you want to avoid the competition or use this info to hustle harder and beat that competition, today I’ll take the news that is out there about drivers and attempt to answer that question.
- Uber Drivers in the United States
- Uber Drivers Around the World
- Market Share
- What About Lyft?
Uber Drivers in the United States
In 2017, Uber co-founder Garrett Camp piqued our interest by mentioning casually that Uber provides “flexible work options” to 2 million drivers. Also in that post, he also mentions 65 million riders. If that seems like a lot of riders to you, it’s actually not: only 36% of American adults say they’ve used ridesharing services like Uber or Lyft. That means there’s still a lot of opportunity for growth (including driver growth) for Uber and Lyft.
These are worldwide numbers for Uber, and they’re the latest ‘public numbers’ we’ve seen from the company as of June 2017. However, it doesn’t answer the question of how many Uber and Lyft drivers there are in the US.
The US is one of Uber’s biggest markets, since Uber was taken over by Didi in China (although Uber still has a 15% stake in Didi (Source Business of Apps). Didi isn’t the only ride-hailing company Uber has a stake in. They also have a 37% stake in Russia’s Yandex Taxi and a 19% stake in Southeast Asia’s Grab.
Estimates vary, but Uber’s market share in the US is between 65-69% – meaning Uber should have a larger number of drivers than Lyft. Lyft’s market share from January 2021 through July 2021 varied between 31-33%. In 2021, it was estimated Uber has 5 million drivers worldwide. Drivers have the option to work in over 900 cities that offer Uber across the globe.
The number has definitely jumped, with nearly 1 million Uber drivers in the US by the end of 2020. Just for comparison, Lyft did have around the same amount of drivers at that time. According to our 2020 annual survey, nearly ⅔ of the drivers surveyed do drive for both rideshare companies.
In California alone, Uber has said it has 209,000 active drivers per quarter.
As of today, the number of Uber drivers in the United States is 1 million. Worldwide, there are an estimated 4-5 million Uber drivers.
Since January 2021, Uber has added 640,000 drivers and couriers to their Uber and Uber Eats platforms.
Is that too many drivers? New York seems to think the proliferation of drivers in NYC is too much – Uber and Lyft have been compelled to stop accepting new drivers in New York City.
According to a 2020 report released by Uber, approximately seven million Americans used ‘digital platforms for work’, with one million of those driving for Uber. As we’ve covered it here on RSG before and Uber themselves have told us that about half of all drivers quit after just one year.
In addition, by 2018, Uber had roughly 750,000 drivers in the US – meaning it was not doubling every year. If numbers had doubled every year since 2015, Uber should have had 2.6 million drivers in the US alone by 2018. Driver churn and availability clearly has an impact on the number of drivers in the US, but the growth is clearly still there.
However, while it looks like Uber has plateaued at around 1 million drivers in the United States in 2020, this number could increase in the future and driver churn could be less tumultuous in the coming years.
Research from the University of Chicago shows that 42%, or 11.6 million, of all jobs lost through April 2020 due to the coronavirus will become permanent. Will all 11 million of these newly unemployed people drive for Uber or Lyft? Certainly not – but a solid share could. As of 2021, there are 48,000 Chicago Uber and Lyft drivers.
Recently. MarketWatch shared Chicago shed over half the number of drivers they had pre-pandemic. As of 2021, there are 48,000 Chicago Uber and Lyft drivers currently.
The amount of ride-hailing drivers has increased according to Chicago’s Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Department. There were 26,000 ride-hailing drivers working in April 2021, about 40 percent of the 65,000 drivers who were working in April 2019. The number of drivers plummeted to 14,000 in April 2020, the following month after the first COVID restrictions kicked in across the state.
The pandemic isn’t the only reason behind some Chicago drivers choosing not to return to rideshare driving according to Chicago Rideshare Advocates co-founder Eli Martin who feels the recent increase in robberies could be behind the hesitation as well.
Uber Drivers Around the World
When it comes to the company’s global numbers as a whole Uber processes a surprising 22% of all its gross mobility bookings in just 5 metropolitan areas. Those markets are Los Angeles, New York City, London, São Paulo, and Chicago according to backlinko. In 2020 alone, these 5 markets accounted for an amazing $5.85 billion in bookings.
Since Uber left China, the US is Uber’s largest market for passengers, with India following behind. 2018 is the only currently available data and they say it is estimated Uber in India fielded 1.5 million drivers. In 2019 Uber had about 14 million rides a week. This is an increase from the 11 million a week that made in 2018.
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Between Uber and Lyft, Uber is by far more popular, more used, and has more drivers. Part of this is because Uber is worldwide – by sheer opportunity, Uber has more drivers and passengers than Lyft.
On July 24, 2018, Uber announced it completed 10 billion trips worldwide – doubling the number of trips given worldwide in one year. Over the years, Uber valuations have fluctuated from roughly $60 billion to $90 billion, although time will tell to see how it fares on the stock market.
Uber is also in over 10,000 cities worldwide. Uber also allows riders to be dropped off in over 600 airports worldwide including airport destinations in Egypt, Hong Kong, Dublin and so many more. Compare this to Lyft, which has a valuation of around $15 billion as of this writing. While nothing to shrug at, this valuation is nowhere near Uber’s valuation.
However, is this it for Uber? Will the number of drivers and passengers Uber and Lyft have continue to skyrocket, or will it plateau? There is a case to be made for these numbers to fall flat in the coming years – meaning Uber driver numbers in the US, if not happy with Uber, could continue to fall without a corresponding increase.
7Park Data, an NYC-based data intelligence company, makes the compelling argument that Uber’s (and Lyft’s) ridership may not increase as it has been. 7Park Data found that 20-25% of US smartphone users have the Uber app installed, and it seems to reason that leaves plenty of opportunity for Uber and Lyft to market to the remaining 75-80% of people who don’t have Uber downloaded to their phones.
However, “Uber’s largest markets are major U.S. cities where ride-sharing is more useful than using personal vehicles or public transportation” and not as common in cities and towns that are more spread out or rural. In those cities and towns, people are more likely to own and drive their own cars versus taking an Uber or Lyft. That said, there is still opportunity in other markets (like travel and commuting), which you can read more about here.
Looking for more Uber stats? Read our Uber statistics article here.
Is Delivery The Next Frontier?
Uber has been pushing much of its large driver force towards UberEats. This means UberEats is poised to become a delivery network with possibly the largest amount of delivery drivers. There are a lot of delivery companies right now, but Caviar is definitely one of the better platforms flying under the radar (less competition). As delivery gets more popular with drivers, UberEats will likely become saturated.
What About Lyft?
In a recent interview on the Pivot podcast, co-founder and President of Lyft John Zimmer said that there are currently (as of November 2020) one million active Lyft drivers, and two million drivers on an annual basis.
Pre-COVID, this means Lyft had two million drivers on the road. With demand down 50% since last year, Lyft currently has one million active drivers.
But since our survey has shown that ⅔ of all drivers work for both Uber and Lyft it could be that a lot of those Lyft drivers are technically ‘active’ with Lyft but they get a majority of their rides with Uber.
As of October 1, 2019, Lyft had about 305,000 drivers in California who completed trips within the past year, although that number has likely declined due to the coronavirus.
So although the sheer numbers are smaller, Lyft has a lot going for it:
- Large investments in Lyft by GM and Alphabet
- Lyft’s upcoming domestic expansion
- Positive perception of Lyft vs. Uber
Although Lyft has a lower valuation than Uber, it’s clear Lyft can still raise investment funds. In addition, Lyft is looking at partnerships internationally to bring Lyft to new markets with key players – instead of competing against them and getting battered as Uber did in China.
Finally, while the #deleteUber movement didn’t seem to do much to quell Uber’s popularity, it does stand to reason every negative Uber announcement in the news certainly can’t help the brand. Lyft knows this and you can be sure seeks to capitalize on as many Uber missteps as it can.
Looking for more information on Lyft? Head to our Lyft statistics article here.
Drivers, do you think Uber and Lyft will continue to grow as they have been over the past few years? Do you see Lyft ever surpassing Uber in number of riders and drivers?
-Melissa @ RSG
How many Uber drivers are there in the world?
Uber probably has nearly 5 million drivers worldwide in 2022.
How many Uber drivers are there in the United States?
Uber has 1 million US drivers by the end of 2020.
How many Lyft drivers are there in the United States?
There are one million Lyft drivers in the US.
How many Uber AND Lyft drivers are there in the United States?
Combined, there are likely 2 million Uber and Lyft drivers in the US, but that number may be closer to 1.5 million given the overlap (many drivers drive for both companies).
That’s because Lyft has around 1.4 in the US and Canada, and those are Lyft’s only markets. According to the annual Rideshare Guy survey, ⅔ of drivers drive for both Uber and Lyft. That means not every Lyft driver drives for Uber, and not every Uber driver drives for Lyft – but over half of drivers do drive for both.
How many Uber drivers use an Electric Vehicle (EV)?
We have estimated there are around 30,000 drivers worldwide using electric vehicles for rideshare, as of May 2022. This is based on Uber’s latest investor presentation, which showed EVs in the fleet went from 5,900 to 15,400 last year.
When extrapolated, it shows that the growth rate in the number of EVs from 2021 to 2022 has been 161%.
Contrary to popular opinion, EVs do not have to be expensive or inaccessible to drivers. Check out our article on the cheapest electric cars for rideshare drivers. Worried about being able to drive all day? Check out our article on why you shouldn’t have range anxiety!
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