Taxi drivers and UberX drivers do the same job: Shuttle people around town. But one group is making far more money than the other.
The Washington Post notes today that UberX drivers working at least 40 hours per week are pulling in, on average, more than $90,000 in New York City and nearly $75,000 in San Francisco. That’s just as much, or in some cases even more than what the average tech worker in America makes.
It’s also more than triple the average median salary of a U.S. taxi driver, which is about $25,000.
Here in Seattle, Uber told us that UberX drivers — who use their own vehicles to transport passengers — make $54,000 per year, on average. That’s still about $20,000 more than your average Seattle taxi driver.
There are plenty of reasons for this. While Uber takes a 20 percent cut, Uber drivers can set their own hours and don’t waste time/gas looking around for passengers thanks to the company’s efficient business model that utilizes smartphone technology. Taxi drivers, meanwhile, are required to pay for commercial insurance and a bevy of other fees mandated by city and state governments, many of which have banned companies like Uber — Seattle may soon do so — because they are shuttling people around without regulation. Taxi drivers also rely on a paid dispatcher, while Uber drivers do not.
But not every Uber driver is happy. Here in Seattle, Uber and UberX drivers angry with how they’ve been treated formed a new association earlier this month. Members say they’re fed up with the way Uber removes drivers from its system, and are concerned about sufficient liability coverage to protect drivers and riders.
Taxi drivers have also raised concerns about Uber, so much so that the Western Washington Taxi Cab Operators Association sued Uber in March for operating illegally in Seattle and King County. The lawsuit, filed in King County Superior Court, claimed that Uber “engages in an unlawful and deceptive business practice which harms the economic interests of taxicab drivers.”
Uber, which is headquartered in San Francisco and now has operations in more than 60 cities worldwide, is seeking a $12 billion valuation and could raise up to $500 million in its latest funding round. The Washington Post notes that in 2014, 20,000 drivers are joining Uber per month.