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Dueling Studies Show Disparity Among Rideshare Drivers’ Earnings

Published on Jul 7, 2020 at 8:11 am in News.

As discussions continue to happen around the country about rideshare drivers, their employment status, and their earnings, Cornell University and The New School and UC Berkeley released dueling studies regarding how much Uber and Lyft drivers actually make.

According to Wired, Cornell University, commissioned by ride-hailing companies, determined the average Seattle driver makes $23. 25 per hour. Researchers from The New School and UC Berkeley, commissioned by the city of Seattle, determined rideshare drivers make $9.73 an hour.

Cornell University’s study, which uses data from Uber and Lyft, examines the pay and expenses of more than 14,100 Seattle rideshare drivers during one week in October 2019. According to those researchers, their access to real driver data allowed them to make more precise calculations about how much drivers earn per hour. Their conclusion of $23.25 is well above most other research.

According to an Uber spokesperson, the Cornell study is “an independent, data-driven picture of the full earnings experience of ride-share drivers,” and said, “We hope policymakers will take a fact-based approach as they consider new policy proposals by using the insights” from the work. Uber said the Parrott-Reich study “is based on incomplete data and flawed assumptions about drivers’ experiences that are unsupported by facts, evidence or reality.”

The other study, written by economists James Parrott and Michael Reich, calculated driver pay differently than Cornell. Their study based its results on an online survey completed by more than 6,500 licensed Seattle ride-hail drivers. It reflects one week in December 2019. While Cornell’s study calculated driver expenses at 19 cents per mile, the Parrott and Reich paper pins it closer to 52 cents per mile—which includes insurance, a cell phone, and vehicle cleaning.

The disparity likely exists because driver pay is complicated, particularly when taking into account factors like car payments, insurance, and fuel. Seattle commissioned The New School and UC Berkeley’s study to help set a minimum wage for ride-share drivers in the city. Based on its finding, the study proposed a wage of $28.19 per hour, which would allow drivers to earn the city’s minimum wage of $16.39 after accounting for their expenses.

If you’re interested in the latest rideshare industry news, click here to visit our blog. We stay up-to-date on all the latest happenings in the industry to keep our readers informed. If you have a question pertaining to a rideshare accident, schedule a free consultation with a Rideshare Law Group lawyer. We represent accident victims on a nationwide basis, so we’re here to review your situation and help you determine how best to proceed to protect your finances and future.