For our latest post we welcome guest contributor Jb to share his insights on a recent night driving in NYC. Jb has been a rideshare driver since early 2014, and blogs about his experiences on the blog he runs, uberdriverdiaries.com.
When Uber announced last year that its New York City uberX drivers could make up to $90,000 a year, I believed them. I think that was pretty achievable a year ago when they were showering riders with huge amounts of free rides. But not anymore. A year ago their rates were nearly double what they are now and they had far fewer drivers on the road so each driver was able to stay busy.
But this morning, I drove during what should have been an incredibly busy morning rush hour. I drove during the exact hours Uber tells us are the busiest in the morning – 6:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m. and I made exactly $49.69. For the mathematically challenged, that’s $12.42 an hour. $12.42 an hour in the busiest Uber city in the country, and the city with the highest rates in the country.
I know you can’t make too much out of one day and certainly not out of any single 4-hour period. But it was cold and raining this morning. That’s a combination that usually leads to the highest demand possible. Large parts of Manhattan were surging up to 2.8x. I found myself in those surge areas a couple of times and couldn’t wait to get a couple of surge fares. But you know what happened? The minute it started to surge everything went dead! Not a single call at all. I checked with the passenger app and saw that other drivers near me weren’t getting any calls either. It was terribly maddening.
Last year around this time I was driving for Uber in northern New Jersey – and we could always make $100 pretty easily during the morning rush. It’s astounding to me that now guys in New York City are struggling to make half that. Check with Uber on the current rates for your city, but I know here, they’re insanely volatile and can change at any time.
Below is a copy of my pay statement from this morning. I was online the whole time between 6:00 and 10:00 with about a 10-minute break somewhere in the middle. I got one trip per hour. Two trips were $10 or less and two were more than $10. But no trip was more than $20 (net)! Last year in Jersey we would always get a handful of airport trips in the mornings where at that time we would make about $30 (net). New York isn’t coming anywhere close to that this year.
A few months ago I wrote a post saying I made $5.33 per hour in New Jersey. So I guess $12 is better than that. But for drivers who are providing around a $30,000 vehicle, neither of these amounts are nearly enough.
And this coming on the heels of a miserable New Year’s Eve. It really makes you wonder why these guys keep coming out day after dreary day? Actually, maybe they’re not coming out day after day. Maybe that’s why Uber is losing more than half its drivers every year.
If you’re frustrated, and can’t decide between Uber and Lyft, or quitting alltogether, you’re in good company. It’s best to evaluate all options then go from there.