Uber duff data claims no decline in 2015 driver earnings despite flooding the market

I’ve spoken to quite a few journalists covering Uber over the past few months and almost all have failed to properly investigate the scandalous truth of driver earnings at Uber. For example, Gareth Mead, Uber’s spin meister, got away with telling the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme that drivers working 7 or 8 hours a day take home £48,000 to £49,000 per annum. Assuming drivers worked a 40 hour week for 52 weeks a year (no holidays), they would need to be grossing between £31 and £32 per hour to achieve what Mead claims. Yet, Uber says its ‘Top Drivers’ gross earnings have remained relatively flat throughout 2015 at around £21 per hour.

In November, Jo Bertram and her new side kick Tom Elvidge said drivers took home between £15 and £16 after commission but tried to muddy the waters by saying driver operating costs bases varied greatly which meant our net figures could be skewed if we didn’t control costs. Of course that is a nonsense. I broke down the net numbers previously to prove, no matter how you cut the data, drivers end up well below minimum wage as a best case scenario.

But let’s focus only on the gross numbers for this post. I went back through weekly earnings to plot my gross numbers versus Uber’s declaration for ‘Top Drivers’. Uber is very careful to hide all empirical definition of what exactly a ‘Top Driver’ is. I have to assume it’s a higher stratum, greater than the average and that the data set is constant – but who knows? It is and says whatever Uber wants it to.

Still, I think comparing my own earnings to the mythical ‘Top Drivers‘ tells a useful story. You can see my earnings per hour lose pace against the top drivers all year before recovering somewhat for the busy December period. The ‘Top Drivers’ remain remarkably constant in working about 45 hours a week all year and earning £21 per hour at the start and the end of the year. This is remarkable consistency in a market that TfL has licensed an additional 12,000 drivers for in 2015 and Uber has swelled its ranks by as much as 10,000 drivers or 65% growth.

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Sadly, my earnings tell another story. I’m definitely a more competent and professional driver a year later. My satisfaction rating has remained constant throughout. My hours on the road have increased dramatically. But I still haven’t stopped the earnings slide.

I know better. Uber’s numbers are duff and cannot be trusted any more than Gareth Mead’s lies to the nation on the BBC Today Programme. It’s nothing more than a smoke screen to deny their sweatshop like engagement of drivers. But it’s a cruel trick to play on drivers: to try to pretend that the slide in earnings they see each week must be somehow their own fault because, after all, Uber’s ‘Top Drivers’ are still making it.

2 thoughts on “Uber duff data claims no decline in 2015 driver earnings despite flooding the market

  1. sami

    Would totally agree with this article. Earnings are below the minimum wage I’m afraid. Ubet is nothing more than a corporate greed monster. Ask any Ubet driver in Manchester.

    Reply
  2. James W

    Drivers are having to work longer hours, some are working 16 hours a day as uber payout is now becoming so low.
    For example, uber commission is in now 60% for Uber Pool.
    Uber gives 25% discount on uberX for rider on UberPool. Then charges driver 35% on each Uberpool ride.
    How can driver make anything from picking up 3 riders like this on UberX flat rate. Driving from 1st rider from Fulham SW6 to Victoria Park Road E9 is charged £21. When picking second rider the fare will always be less. Second person will come on in say hyde park fare will be £11. 3rd person say from Old street Fare will £5,
    Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
    Total fare: £39
    Driver take: £15.6

    Drivers are therefore on the road longer and earring far less. In fact uber driver will earn more by not accesspting uber pool. All uberpool riders will do is slow the driver down.

    I refused to accept any uberpool. But uber will suspend drivers who continue to refuse uberpool in the long run.

    Reply

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