Two days ago, my fiancé had to leave early for work, so I requested an Uber. Fortunately for me, I had received this assignment before getting in the car with Pathmalal, my Uber driver.
I have taken Ubers before, and some of the guys are usually to chatty for my taste, especially in the morning, while others are two heavy on the gas or the brake.
Pathmalal was neither; he was smooth, quiet and conservative. After a few minutes on the road, I started to speak with him about what he does and how much he makes as a driver.
Real Time with Pathmalal, the Uber Driver
Pathmalal is a career driver, so he only drives for three hours in the morning five days per week. After the charges, he makes around 400 per week net income after three hours of driving.
Now the two factors to take into account, are the hourly rate for surge and non-surge hours. Surge hours are defined by Uber as those hours where the demand is high. So in this area, on the east coast, between the hours of 6 am – 8 am can be defined as surge hours. Practically speaking, we are looking at a surge time between 7 and 8 am.
Pathmalal stated that his 400/week net was for 15 hours worth of work. If you break that out, that comes to $26.67 per hour. Let’s compare this with the website data Uber provides and see what we come up with.
Uber provides very relevant data that substantiates my driver’s answer and begs the question: Why even consider driving as a taxi. A study shows that drivers make more than $6/hour than some taxi drivers.
This figure was reduced from $19/hr because gas, depreciation, and insurance were not being taken into account. Still, the data is showing that this taxi tech company makes more and for that reason drive less. In fact, the majority of Uber drivers are on the road less than thirty-five hours per week:
Furthermore, most drivers from Uber have full-time jobs and do Uber as a way to make extra cash on the side. Another study showed that the projected average yearly earnings after overhead costs are deducted for a forty hour work week could be $46,000 per year net.
Another interesting piece is the issue of gender and diversity. The divide between male and female drivers is large in the world of driving. For example, fourteen percent of the drivers for Uber were women; whereas, compared to taxi drivers, and only eight percent and fewer were women.
Moving on to the issue of diversity, we have a different issue. Uber has just appointed a new President, and Jesse Jackson is asking him to share the diversity figures of who is driving for Uber and how it breaks out. Uber has refused to offer this data to Jackson.
It is important to note that Google first shared their diversity figures in 2014 after being pushed by Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Coalition. Jackson has been gaining ground on this front due to his support of Hilary Clinton and the issues of rising technology companies falling into old patterns of segregation and ceilings for people of color.
What Uber Offers
Uber offers people another unique avenue: the ability to control their schedules. When it comes to people needing a ride, surge hours can vary. For example, your ability to earn more is affected drastically when you drive between the hours of 1 am – 4 am on the east coast over the weekend.
This is a bracket of time when most young twenty-somethings and up (all the way to people in their early forties) are trolling bars and looking for rides home or to go grab diner food.
With this in mind, people who tend to be night owls can make a few extra bucks, still better than a taxi, and quit at any time they want to.
Studies show that most people when given the choice between a forty hour work week and a flexible schedule that lets them control when they work, the majority of people choose a flexible schedule.
Trusting their employees
In fact, studies also indicate the move toward a gig based economy, which is that the workforce will be comprised more of independent contractors. The reason this relates to Uber is the flexibility of scheduling; you are very much an independent contractor when working for Uber and this is part of the appeal.
As far as the earnings are concerned, Uber is certainly worthwhile; my driver was realistic and honest with me about his earning which are solid given the light fifteen hours a week and the profit of four hundred dollars.
That’s $1600 a month, which is the salary of some clerical jobs that require forty hours per week. Definitely well worth it!