According to MIT researchers, 80 percent of drivers said they work less than 40 hours per week.
Notably, a choice few drivers with the most efficient vehicles and running the most profitable routes were able to turn out revenue of $1.50 per mile.
"The Rideshare Guy survey â€" the underlying data used for the paper â€" found Uber drivers made an average of $15.68 an hour â€" but that's before the costs of gas, maintenance and other expenses. The study paired the results from a survey of over 1,100 drivers with vehicle cost information.
The statistics are startling: almost three-quarters of drivers earn less than minimum wage; the median profit before taxes is $3.37/hour. When accounting for detailed vehicle expenses and depreciation, 74 percent of drivers are earning less than minimum wage in their state and 30 percent of drivers are losing money. Drivers are able to use the IRS standard mileage rate deduction to write off some of the costs of using a auto for business. "The businesses are being subsidized by [venture capital] money and the drivers are essentially subsidizing it by working for very low wages". Mark Tluszcz, co-founder and CEO of Mangrove Capital Partners, succinctly summed the problem in an interview with TechCrunch: "We're creating the next lost generation of people who simply don't have enough money to live, and those companies are fundamentally enabling it under the premise that they're offering a cheaper service to consumers". And however much Uber pays its drivers, it's nearly definitely not enough, either. The mean monthly pretax profit for drivers is $661, while the median profit for a month is just $310. "It's quite possible that drivers don't realize quite how much they are spending", Zoepf tells the Guardian.
'While the paper is certainly attention grabbing, its methodology and findings are deeply flawed, ' an Uber spokesperson told the Guardian. In April of previous year, The Information reported Uber was only retaining about 4% of drivers annually.
'We've reached out to the paper's authors to share our concerns and ways we might work together to refine their approach, ' they added.