Average Uber or Lyft Income – What Is It?

An ex-cabbie, now Lyft driver opens up about the economics of being a driver in SF

Table of Contents

In early 2016 I started researching about the average Lyft income and average Uber Technologies Inc income… I was thinking about giving rideshare driving a try, but I did not have an appropriate vehicle… my last Toyota worked fine but was too old to qualify.

Before I replaced a perfectly good car, I wanted to understand how much does Lyft or Uber pay and also understand how much I could expect to take home, meaning spendable income, after my rideshare driving-related expenses.

Finding meaningful answers about average rideshare driving income and expenses was frankly more than a little difficult… I searched online for months and read everything I could find about Uber driver earnings and Lyft driver earnings… what I found online was frankly a confusing mess.

The article referenced for this blog contains some good information but you have to know how to filter through what you read to filter out information that is not useful.

When I first started researching average Uber driver income I found websites saying I could expect to earn $25 or more an hour, but most of the information I found online seemed to be active and former drivers saying that their net earnings were less than minimum wage… but they rarely said what city they worked in or what kind of vehicle they drove.

Finding meaningful answers about rideshare driving expenses was just as frustrating… plenty of examples of drivers breaking down expenses based on what they earned on a specific ride or two but how does that help with understanding the bigger picture?

One popular rideshare driving website said drivers should save about $0.20 cents a mile for expenses.  This recommendation seemed helpful, but it didn’t make complete sense to me because an economical vehicle will cost a lot less to own and operate compared to a full-sized SUV.

 

Ridesharing Vehicles – What Makes Sense?

Should I finance a new vehicle?  Or find a way to own a luxury vehicle so I could earn higher fares?

I wanted to determine the average Lyft and Uber income so I would know how much I could expect to earn… more importantly how much I could expect in “take home pay”… what I would earn after expenses.

In April of 2016 I decided to take a leap of faith and find out for myself… do my own field research.

For my vehicle I chose a 2006 Toyota Prius with 98,000 miles on the odometer.  I figured if rideshare driving didn’t work out for me the Prius would service my personal needs and I bought it for a price that would make sense for my personal finances if rideshare driving did not work out.

Now, over three years later, after almost 14,000 completed passenger trips, I’ve proved to myself that being a Lyft driver and Uber driver in Denver, Colorado is a viable way for me to pay my bills.

To be sure I’m not getting rich, and like any job rideshare driving requires real work.

However, because I keep careful track of my income in a spreadsheet, I know without question in the past two years, I’ve averaged just over $24 per hour before expenses.

To see my daily and weekly results spreadsheets click here to download a free copy of my Rideshare Earnings Case Study.

When I’m reading news articles and driver forum sites, I’ve learned to find the useful information which is often hidden “between the lines.”

Okay… the useful information is not really hidden, so much as it takes some working knowledge about being a rideshare driver to find “nuggets” of meaningful information and the article referenced for this blog includes a handful of useful data points.

 

Lyft Tipping Not Required – Thanks, Uber

From the article:

 

“Foley, 40, was a cab driver for seven years and, when working for Yellow Cab, riders always tipped. When he started driving for ride-hailing apps, he rarely got tips.”

 

This is a fascinating aspect of being a Lyft driver and/or Uber driver… most passengers do not tip.  This is my experience echoed by almost every driver reporting online.

 

 

We can thank Uber Technologies Inc for this reality… in their first few years they had a strong marketing message that tipping was not required or expected.  Of course, when Uber launched passengers were paying about twice as much and drivers were earning more on each trip they completed.

Over two years ago Uber added an in-app tipping option and tipping started to improve… a little. 

For whatever reasons most passengers are still able to rationalize not tipping their rideshare drivers… however I don’t think most rideshare passengers have a lot of experience getting where they want to go in a taxi so saying most taxi passengers did pay a little extra with tipping is not a direct comparison.

My free-to-download Rideshare Earnings Case Study includes a spreadsheet where I break out in detail months of the tips I received, both in-app and in cash tips.

My research shows that my average Uber income has increased by about 10% from passenger tips which is significantly more than before Uber added an in-app tipping option.

It’s still true most passengers do not tip but with huge thanks to the passengers that do tip they tip (on average) more than 10% making my average extra from tipping about 10% over all fares.

I’m working on compiling at least one year of data showing that my Lyft passengers are far more likely to tip compared to Uber passengers.

When I finish the analysis, I will add it to my free-to-download Rideshare Earnings Case Study as well as share the results with everyone on the Rideshare Business Guide mailing list.

Lyft passengers tipping more on average than Uber passengers makes some sense since Lyft has had an in-app tipping option since their first passenger ride.

I’ve learned to be thankful for but not to expect passenger tips and, in my book, How to Be a Lyft and Uber Driver – The Unofficial Driver’s Manual, I explain how this reality significantly helped my metal state of mind as a rideshare driver.

For this blog, a final thought on tipping.

While it’s true most taxi passengers tipped drivers for private transportation services (like taxi rides) that cost a lot more compared to the average Uber or Lyft ride… it’s also true that far more people are choosing to take rideshare transportation compared to people who ever took a lot of taxi rides.

Like it or not rideshare transportation is popular in part because it’s a very cheap way to get where you are going.  If rideshare transportation weren’t so cheap it would not be so popular and the opportunity to earn meaningful income for drivers like me would be significantly less.

 

Lyft How To - Stories vs Reports – Emotion vs Data

Back to the referenced article let’s look at another quote and see what meaningful information we can pull out:

 

“When Foley started with Yellow Cab in 2012, he rented a medallion and a cab, and drove 11 hours a day, five days a week, averaging $300 to $450 in profit a day. He paid $107.50 per day on weekdays in rental expenses and $77.50 on weekends. At the time, buying a medallion would have cost about $250,000. Gas was an extra $20 to $25.”

 

Such a great example of earnings information that sounds interesting but is also confusing.

 

 

The quote says: “$300 to $450 in profit a day” driving 11 hours. That means $27.27 to $40.90 per hour as a traditional Yellow Cab driver.

Before we believe we’re really talking about profit, “take home pay,” or spendable income notice the former taxi driver said “$300 to $450 in profit a day” then talks about what it cost to rent his taxi and the required by law taxi medallion: “$107.50 per day on weekdays in rental expenses and $77.50 on weekends.”

If we assume by “profit” he meant what he earned after paying for gas and vehicle/medallion rental so we have to subtract vehicle/medallion rental from the $300 to $450 per day meaning his “take home pay” as a taxi driver was $17.50 to $31.14 per hour during a weekday and $20.23 to $33.86 per hour on the weekends.

Of course, we’re talking about taxi driver earnings in San Francisco in a timeframe before Uber earnings and Lyft earnings were available.

This quote from the referenced article is a great example of how most reports of earning income as a taxi driver or rideshare driver are delivered as stories not as reports backed-up by rigorously compiled data.

Maybe this driver kept careful track of his Lyft earnings and expenses but if he did we have no way to know because all we hear is the story.  The story does not make clear if “$300 to $450 in profit a day” means before or after the expense of renting the vehicle and medallion?

If these numbers are truly profit, or net income, it would mean as a Yellow Cab driver in San Francisco before Uber and Lyft he was bringing in “take home pay” of $450 to $550 on a weekday.

Working 11-hour days that would mean he averaged about $50 an hour “take home pay” on a good weekday of driving? 

If you’re thinking this sounds like really good pay for essentially just driving a car then you are agreeing with my thinking.

This level of income from being a taxi driver sounds unlikely to me… but let’s move on because we’re still talking about driving a taxi, not rideshare driving, and talking about the past, before Uber and Lyft arrived on the scene and changed “the game” completely.

 

What Does “On the Clock” Mean for the Lyft Ridesharing Driver?

Let’s dig into another quote from our former Yellow Cab driver… this time about being a rideshare driver:

 

“…now [as a Lyft driver] working 15- to 16-hour shifts, five to six days a week, depending on the success of his driving days. Most days, he drives about 300 miles, and the goal is to bring in $300 in profit a day.”

 

I don’t drive 15 to 16-hour shifts… on a full day of driving I put in 8 to 9 hours online completing passenger trips and waiting for my next passenger trip request. 

I’m away from my home for 10 or more hours but I only count as “work time” when I’m actually working… breaks don’t count and if I choose to go offline (meaning I won’t be getting any passenger trip requests)… I don’t count that as work time either. 

The way I see it rideshare driving is no different from any job, we don’t get paid during our commute to and from work, right?  And hourly wage workers don’t get paid when they take a meal break.  Salaried workers don’t specifically get paid for breaks and most work more than 40 hours per week.

In my spreadsheet tracking I want the best possible answers, so I don’t count time when I’m not online ready to accept and complete passenger trips… I don’t count time when I’m “off the clock.”

Why does hours worked matter?  Rideshare driving is not an hourly pay job - it is more business than job… in the gig economy each completed passenger trip is a “gig.”

Determining how much I earn per hour is an interesting metric, but earning how much I need to pay my bills is what’s really important.

When I first started analyzing the rideshare driving industry it was pretty easy for me to imagine someone consistently working well over 8 hours a day.  When I was a salaried employee in the tech industry it was rare that I worked only 8 hours in a day. 

Because I understood what it meant to work long hours it used to be easier to believe every story where an Uber or Lyft driver reported they were consistently driving 10 to 12-hour days or longer.

Now that I’ve read lots of reports like the one in the referenced article, I am frankly a little skeptical.  Maybe the former taxi driver in the article does spend 75% of all available time in a given week completing passenger trips… I’m not calling him a liar, after all I have no way of knowing what’s true?

All I can do is analyze the numbers in his story… so let’s take a look, shall we?

If he earns $300 gross income in a 15-hour day of driving that’s average $20 per hour before expenses.

But let’s forget about 15-hour workdays for a second… $20 an hour is close to the $24 an hour I know without question I generate in gross Lyft and Uber earnings driving in Denver, Colorado a city area with 2.8 million residents.

I’m guessing $20 an hour is probably close to an accurate number for this driver AND if you’re thinking about rideshare driving in a medium to large population city answer this question:

“Is an average of $20 an hour interesting to you?”

If your expenses were about 25% of earnings that means “take home pay” or real money you can spend around $15 per hour… again interesting?

As I said, in April of 2016 I took a leap of faith… no one promised me how much I would earn and no one can accurately tell you the average Uber of Lyft income… the best you can do is gather as much data as you can and make your own decision.

 

Average Lyft Income Increases with Incentives

Moving on to what this former taxi driver says about the financial incentives he can sometimes earn as a Lyft driver:

 

“Foley says sometimes his income is boosted by special incentives Lyft offers — such as an extra $300 if you do 155 rides — but these are never consistent.  ‘That’s like an extra $1,200 a month, and that’s pretty good,’ says Foley. ‘I don’t know why they [Lyft] stopped it. I was working another 10 hours a week. It’s hard to make more than $25 an hour on rides alone. With the bonus, it’s $30 to 35 an hour.’"

 

Again, let me point out what we are reading is a story, not a financial report like my free-to-download Rideshare Driving Case Study.

When human beings tell stories about what they earn as an independent contractor (essentially a small business owner) or the other stories we tell… the story might be 100% factual… and it might only contain “nuggets” of truth.

I really don’t see this kind of story telling as being dishonest… it’s human nature to embellish our stories.  In fact, research suggests that our memory is not entirely accurate either… our brain can gently rewrite a memory and in time we won’t know the difference.

Our stories are driven by our motivations for telling them… if the goal is to paint ourselves in a positive light, we might exaggerate earnings or the hours we’re willing to work.

 

 

If our goal is to paint ourselves in a more sympathetic light or shine a less-than-positive light on an issue or company… that motivation colors the story we tell.

My goal with Rideshare Business Guide website; blog posts; books/training manuals is to provide meaningful information about being a rideshare driver.

Notice our former taxi driver says:

 

“It’s hard to make more than $25 an hour on rides alone.”  

 

I suspect this means his average Lyft income, without additional financial incentives from Lyft, is around $25 an hour. 

Average income of $25 an hour lines up well with my average $24 an hour so I think this is a “nugget” we can believe. 

A driver in San Francisco earning about the same as a driver in Denver… both city metro areas well over a million people… this could be a useful data point for people thinking about giving rideshare driving a try.

Then he’s saying when Lyft has these financial incentive programs, he can earn $30 to $35 per hour… $5 to $10 more per hour than: “…$25 an hour on rides alone.”  

Our driver mentions: “$300 if you do 155 rides” as his incentive example. 

155 completed trips in a week is a lot, I average 2 to 2.5 trips per hour but in a city like San Francisco with a large and extremely dense population it is very likely this former taxi driver gets more, shorter trips.

Let’s go back now to his reported 15-hour days as a Lyft driver. 

At $30 to $35 an hour that means average $450 to $525 in a 15-hour day.

 

$100,000 Average Lyft Income - Is It Realistic?

Calculate those numbers out to a year (50 weeks) of driving 5 to 6 days a week (let’s say 5.5 days) that would mean this driver is earning gross yearly income of $123,000 to $144,000.

Even using the more reasonable number of $25 per hour his story is telling us he’s grossing over $103,000 per year working only as a Lyft driver? 

Sure, if he’s really driving 15-hour days he doesn’t have much time to spend but San Francisco is a very expensive place to live… on this list it ranks as the #2 most expensive city in America.

I think you can see now why I tend to discount driver stories I read online.  This driver is claiming a Lyft driver salary of over $100,000 per year but based on his story he is working over 4,000 hours per year to do it.

The traditional 9-to-5 job is 2000 hours per year (50 weeks x 40 hours) so I have to question the accuracy of someone claiming to work twice that number of hours.

Looking past these suspected exaggerations, I search for the “nuggets” of truth… things I can learn about being a rideshare driver and the rideshare driving industry.

I think the referenced article is wanting us to feel sorry for this former taxi driver now forced to drive for Lyft… after all as a taxi driver he reportedly worked only 11-hour days now he says he has to work 15-hour days to earn similar income.

But I’m reading between the lines and doing a little math and I’m having a very hard time feeling sorry for someone earning over $100,000 a year gross revenue?

Without a doubt being a rideshare driver means rideshare driving business-related expenses but using an educated guess of average 25% of revenue for expenses I’m thinking $25,000 is more than enough to cover our former taxi driver’s expenses?

With $25,000 a year I could buy two used vehicles and have $9,000 to pay for gas, insurance, repair/maintenance, etc.

My Prius costs $8,000 to purchase and I’m not spending 25% of what I earn in maintenance and repair expenses.

Using this driver’s reasonable number of an average $25 per hour gross revenue and doing the math using what is considered a “normal” 40-hour week and 50 weeks per years we’re talking about $50,000 per year gross revenue.

Fifty grand as an average Uber income or average Lyft income – not bad money for driving a car.

I saw an article this week pointing out that more than 50% of the jobs in America currently pay $33,000 or less per year. Being a rideshare driver requires zero education or experience and you can earn more money sitting behind the steering wheel than you can stocking shelves at Walmart or flipping burgers at McDonald's. Hello?

 

Being a Lyft Driver Means Time Freedom – Work When and How Much You Want

Another “nugget” I see in these stories is the reality that rideshare drivers can choose to work more than 8 hours in a day and more than 5 days a week. 

Drivers don’t have to request more hours from the boss… or figure out how to manage the work schedules of two separate jobs… if you want to earn more then get out on the road and complete more passenger trips.

 

 

When my passengers ask me if I like being a rideshare driver they can readily understand how cool it is to have full control over when I work… but I rarely see online news articles or driver forums pointing out how “cool” it is that Lyft drivers and Uber drivers can choose to work (more or less) as many hours as they want.

Before moving on I feel the need to point out that the former taxi driver in the referenced article appears to have made another important choice… he doesn’t mention driving for Uber, in fact he says:

 

“I don’t know why they [LYFT] stopped it [financial incentives]…”

 

By not mentioning Uber and complaining that Lyft’s financial incentive offers are not consistent week-to-week I believe the is saying he has only signed up to drive for Lyft.

In my book How to Be a Lyft and Uber Driver – The Unofficial Driver’s Manual I provide detailed explanations why most rideshare drivers choose to complete passenger trips for more than one TNC (transportation network company) and I provide easy-to-follow directions on how to leverage the constantly-changing financial incentives with the goal of maximizing your Uber and Lyft earnings.

In a way choosing to have only one Gig worker “gig” is choosing to be more like an employee of one company instead of an Independent contractor for as many Ridesharing companies as you want. 

Obviously Gig worker work is not traditional employment, this is part of the reason it doesn’t make business sense to focus on only one TNC. 

Independent contractors should behave as if they are truly independent and not dependent on only one source of income.

If our former taxi driver drove for Uber Technologies Inc too, he could choose to focus on the financial incentives that made the most sense for a given week or a given day.

 

Uber vs Lyft Driver Pay - Working 20 Hour Days?

Let’s move on and quickly touch on a few more points from the referenced article… says our former Yellow Cab driver:

 

“I know one guy who sleeps in his car," he says. "He’s working 20 hours a day. One month he made $12,000. That’s dangerous. You need to sleep. A lot of people take caffeine pills to stay awake."

 

In order to work 20 hours in a single day a driver would have to complete passenger trips for more than one TNC. 

Regulations on how many hours a professional driver can work in a 24-hour period differ a little from state to state but typically limit driving hours in a single day to about 12 hours.

Each TNC limits hours driven in a day on their platform, but they don’t share information so a driver could conceivably split their time and exceed the city/state regulations.

Twenty hours in a day… I have no doubt some drivers work very long hours and no doubt some of them are consistently working 60-70-hour weeks but averaging 20 hours a day (over 100 hours per week) is hard for me to swallow.

And earning $12,000 in a single month?  Sounds like a story I might tell about the biggest fish I ever caught?

In 30 days of driving, 20 hours a day to earn $12,000 would mean earning $400 per day. 

Let’s go back to the numbers I used earlier in this blog, a more reasonable 5.5 day week but using the reported 20 hours per day… in order to earn $12,000 in a single month working 22 days (let’s assume in this driver story he’s not working 30 days in a month) for 20 hours each day means around $27 gross income per hour.

$27 per hour gets us a lot closer to the former taxi driver’s $25 an hour and my (tracked in a detailed spreadsheet) $24 per hour.  Maybe we’re narrowing in on another data point of meaningful information?

$27 per hour is also a reasonable average Lyft income when we consider the $30 to $35 dollars an hour the former taxi driver says he earns when Lyft has financial incentives for completing a specific number of passenger trips in a week.

Now back to the notion we should feel sorry for someone choosing to work even one 20-hour workday or even 15-hour workdays… no one is forcing these drivers to work really long hours.

Now maybe their personal life situation (like living in an expensive city) forces them to work these long hours, but that’s really not a story about rideshare driving is it?  If these drivers did something else to earn income… the amount they need to pay their bills stays the same? They could always choose to work one of those jobs paying less than $33,000 per year, right?

How much income a human being needs to live is different for each one of us… and the amount is a reflection of the choices we make in life? 

It’s easy to complain we don’t earn enough income… much harder to make lifestyle choices that would reduce how much income we need to live?

Obviously, San Francisco is an expensive place to live but after reading and analyzing rideshare driving news for over three years I do not feel sorry for rideshare drivers complaining that they need to work long hours in order to pay their bills. 

I also believe these drivers are extreme examples and don’t represent the experiences of most Lyft drivers and Uber drivers.

Rideshare driving is a choice, if you can’t earn enough income without working insanely long hours, then make other choices and/or spend at least as much time and energy looking at your personal financial choices as you do complaining that you aren’t paid enough income as a rideshare driver?

The way I see it they could never earn as much income working fast food or retail as they do driving for Lyft and Uber.

And these stories fly right in the face of drivers shown in news articles picketing in from of Lyft/Uber offices and holding up signs saying they are earning less than minimum wage?

And I know without a doubt that fast food and restaurant managers work 60-70 and more hour weeks probably earning less than drivers telling a story that on the surface might sound sad… and yet with some critical analysis and doing the math using the numbers from the same driver’s stories tell a different story… or at least a more complete story.

 

Lyft Income - Tax Deductions and California AB5

The referenced article spends a few paragraphs talking about tax-deductible vehicle mileage expenses and suggests the mileage tax deduction could go away Jan 1st when California’s AB5 becomes law. 

I see this as uniformed (or dishonest) fear mongering… you can learn more about California’s AB5 ballot initiative here.

If ridesharing drivers someday become traditional hourly employees (doubtful this will ever happen) employee-drivers will either keep appropriate tax deductions for vehicle mileage/expenses or be paid more than enough to cover these expenses.

 

Lyft Sign Up - What Is a Taxi or Ridesharing Driver Worth?

Some of our former taxi driver’s motivations for his stories are revealed in this quote:

 

"The ideal situation is they’d [the TNCs forced by government regulation] give us $45 an hour because that will cover the gas and the cost of the car and then you're making like $35, and that's what you used to make driving a cab…  That’s what I think would make it worth it. Most likely, they [the TNCs forced by government regulations] won’t even come close to it."

 

Our former taxi driver is telling us he used to take home about $35 per hour as a Yellow Cab driver… at 40 hours per week that means a job earning around $70,000 per year taxable income.

And he says:

 

“That’s what I think would make it worth it.”

 

Before I respond to “worth it” please understand I am a Lyft driver and Uber driver.  I’ve completed almost 14,000 lifetime trips.  I’ve been rideshare driving full-time hours for over three-and-a-half years…

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to earn more income for my time… I mean who wouldn’t? 

I’m also a pragmatic realist meaning I tend to think about what is practical and realistic.

It is neither practical or realistic to believe the TNCs will pay ridesharing drivers more than the work is really worth?

It sounds like being a taxi driver before Uber and Lyft was a pretty good gig.  Earning in the neighborhood of $70,000 a year driving a car… sounds like good work if you can get it.

The only comparable work I am aware of today is city bus driver in a large municipality. They can make over $50,000 per year salary ($25 per hour) plus the standard benefit package. That’s a sweet job but in a municipality like Denver (population 2.8 million) there are no more than a few hundred bus drivers total – how much competition do you think there is for these scarce jobs? Are you qualified? Do you have a connection who will refer you or hand-carry your application to the HR department?

In order to think practically and realistically we have to be honest with ourselves that rideshare driving or taxi driving is not a high-skills “job.” 

Software developers and engineers just entering the workforce are happy to start at $70,000 per year. 

Most college graduates without science or technical degrees would be happy earning $50,000 per year at their first job. Remember, this is more money than half of the jobs in America pay.

If we look at the “nuggets” of meaningful information found in this article and detailed in my free Rideshare Earnings Case Study a meaningful guess at rideshare driving earnings in a medium to large population U.S. city would be around $25 gross income per hour.

In my 3.5 years experience as a full-time hours driver, expenses including taxes and recouping what I paid for my vehicle are less than 25% of my Lyft and Uber earnings which also means my rideshare driving “take home pay” is in the same ballpark as a traditional job. 

An hourly wage worker earning $15 per hour has automatic deductions from their paychecks (around 25%) so a $15 an hour worker is really taking home after payroll deductions about $11.25 per hour.

This means being a full-time ridesharing driver in a city with a medium to large population is about a $50,000 per year “gig” and also means taking home similar income compared to a traditional job paying $50,000.

 

PLEASE HEAR ME when I say I don’t recommend full-time hours rideshare driving to just anyone because it requires 100% thinking like a business owner AND requires you to motivate yourself to get out and complete lots of passenger trips day after day; week after week; month after month.

 

When you’re the boss, and you get to say when to work, it is far too easy to work less hours than you planned to work. 

And average Uber or Lyft driving income varies, there will be “good” days, and days where you don’t earn as much… you also have to save some of your income to prepare for future expensive vehicle repairs.

Using rideshare driving as your only source of income takes a lot of discipline.

I highly recommend working part-time hours for a few months before making the leap of faith to rideshare driving as your only source of income.

As a part-time-hours “gig” rideshare driving is really hard to beat.

As a part-time “gig” imagine being able to work as little or as much as you want earning gross income of at least $20 per hour.

Anyway, I hope you found this rather long blog post interesting and if you’re seriously thinking about rideshare driving check out my other book Driving for Uber and Lyft - How Much Can Drivers Earn?  where I provide step-by-step instructions on how to determine actual expenses for your vehicle… for your individual situation.

How Much Can Drivers Earn details a simple step-by-step process to calculate expenses for any vehicle (including estimating future maintenance and recovering the depreciating resale value of any vehicle.) 

Knowing what your vehicle costs to drive per-mile allows you to estimate average Lyft or Uber earnings fairly accurately.

 

Wrapup - Lyft vs Uber Driver Income

Rounding out this blog post with a final quote from the referenced article… this part was added after the article was originally published:

 

“Story updated, Nov. 20, 11:45 a.m. In response to the article, Lyft shared a statement, ‘While Gabriel’s perspective is important, it’s worth noting that based on the number of hours he drives, he is quite unlike most of our drivers.  In fact, 85% of drivers in San Francisco drive fewer than 20 hours per week and only about 1% drive more than 40 hours per week. Also, on average, drivers earn $2.36 per hour in tips."

 

Obviously, we have to take Lyft’s word at face value… but I will say two things:

[1] only Lyft has the data required to make accurate calculations and report average San Francisco drivers are earning on average $2.36 per hour from passenger tips, and

[2] if Lyft is telling anything but the truth, they are taking considerable risk of a future lawsuit.

I believe risk of lawsuits is a big part of the reason we don’t see more driver income data directly from the sources… namely Uber and Lyft.

In my opinion Lyft is telling the truth that there are very few full-time-hours Lyft drivers in San Francisco and that additional earnings from passenger tips add at least 10% to the average Lyft driver’s income.  (10% of $24 dollars an hour equals $2.40 per hour.)

An ex-cabbie, now Lyft driver opens up about the economics of being a driver in SF

https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/ex-cabbie-Lyft-driver-San-Francisco-pay-money-14837607.php

Average Uber or Lyft Income – What Is It?