Uber and Lyft
Photo by William Jenkins.

There’s a favor you can do for your next Uber driver: Tell them how much you are paying for the ride. 

Drivers can no longer get that information. This, combined with diminishing earnings, has left many anxious over their already unstable income.

In fact, this isn’t the first time Uber has fiddled with the “customer payments” feature on the Uber app that drivers use. Mission Local discovered in July, 2021,  that Uber was showing drivers an amount significantly lower than what the customer was actually charged. 

The article gained tremendous traction, and Uber made a concession, announcing it would show drivers the full fare charged to customers.

“Obviously, we want to see if it’s fair, what the passengers are paying versus what we’re getting paid,” said a San Francisco Uber driver, who asked to remain anonymous to avoid potential retaliation from the company. For him, this is yet another example of Uber taking a bigger cut of the fee and giving drivers less, even as customers are paying more. 

“They’re trying to see what they can get away with,” he said.

Uber drivers used to receive a breakdown on their app after each ride. It would show how much the passenger paid, how much Uber took, additional costs incurred, and how much the driver would ultimately receive.

Starting late this summer, however, the customer payments information disappeared, leaving drivers with no easy way to check their payment against Uber’s stake. 

“I think it rolled out at different times over the last three months. They don’t do a sudden change to everybody all at the same time,” said Nicole Moore, president of gig worker group Rideshare Drivers United.

Uber has not responded to a request for comment on the change. Mission Local’s small experiment, however, illustrates one of the possible reasons for the abrupt change: Money. 

Mission Local booked five Uber rides in San Francisco recently, and asked drivers to share the amount of money they received from each ride. With the help of the drivers, we came up with a crude average of their share: 49.5 percent. Essentially, drivers are receiving less than half the money customers pay. One of the drivers spent almost 25 minutes on the order but only made $6.67.

Mission Local booked five Uber rides in San Francisco recently, and asked drivers to share the amount of money they received from each ride. Chart by Yujie Zhou.

When Mission Local booked 10 Uber trips in July, 2021, a driver’s average take was significantly higher: 56 percent. Over the course of about a year, a driver’s revenue as a percentage of passenger payments has fallen by more than 6 percent.

Still, Uber seems to have left a small hole for drivers to peer through the darkness. At the bottom of the trip details page, there is a line that reads, “To see a summary of customer payments and Uber service fees, go to drivers.uber.com.”

In theory, drivers might be able to laboriously type the link into their browser and check the website. But when the aforementioned driver left the app and made the attempt, he was still unable to open the page a minute and half later.

Unsurprisingly, he gave up. “For me, it’s nice to know if I could just click a button and see a summary. But I prefer not to waste my time,” he said.

Some of the drivers Moore works with at Rideshare Drivers United have also spotted the notice in fine print and struggled to open it. “But not everybody told me they can find that, so I think that they’re trying to hide it completely,” she said. Drivers almost went through the whole website to find the individual ride breakdown.

Gig workers don’t have time to jump through such hoops. As Mission Local previously reported, full-time rideshare drivers are often in their cars at least 12 hours a day, and some even spend the night in parking lots to save time.

Drivers asking each passenger for the specifics on what they are paying just isn’t feasible. “I don’t want to be bothering them,” said one driver.

Lyft has a longer history of hiding customer payments from drivers than Uber. In 2019, Moore recalled, drivers discovered Lyft was charging customers “a lot more” money than it was paying drivers and, right around this time, Lyft hid payments from drivers as well. “Because they didn’t want it on the Internet, how much people were being charged versus how much drivers were being paid,” she said. 

Lyft has also not replied to Mission Local’s request for a comment.  

“The reason that Uber and Lyft both hide how much they’re charging passengers from the driver is because it is a huge vulnerability to the company for people to know that,” Moore said. “The companies are literally using drivers as their bank account, and they’re squeezing us dry.”

On a popular online forum for Uber drivers, a post titled “Uber — They’ve Finally Hid The Customer Payments” has been getting a lot of attention since August. Drivers were outraged by the change.

“This new hidden information policy is a blatant attempt by Uber to short change the driver, by hiding any customer price hikes to keep more of the actual fare price. THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS,” said one of the comments.

Another reads, “Probably best that I’m not tempted to look at what Uber charged while driving. If I want to have a stroke, I can log into the website from home where I won’t take anybody else out with me.”

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REPORTER. Yujie Zhou is our newest reporter and came on as an intern after graduating from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. She is a full-time staff reporter as part of the Report for America program that helps put young journalists in newsrooms. Before falling in love with the Mission, Yujie covered New York City, studied politics through the “street clashes” in Hong Kong, and earned a wine-tasting certificate in two days. She’s proud to be a bilingual journalist. Follow her on Twitter @Yujie_ZZ.

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  1. I have been with Uber about 3 years and has helped over 8000 rider’s in Jacksonville. I am also on the news. Look up Uber driver Daniel Finnegan. I stop doing food orders cause it’s not worth the fare. we all should turn the Uber driver app off for one week till Uber pays better. We need to band together like real usa citizens. Even for riders request I get paid $4 to $6 per trip. Let’s band together and turn apps off and not accept trips request. That will hurt Uber like they are hurting hard working people. Let’s show them how it feels!

  2. It is worse than what your article is referring to. In Nashville on Nov 29th 2022 I had a $11 surge ride. But the total fare paid to me the driver was $15.79 for 21 miles and 30 minute ride. That means the ride was only $4.79. The very next ride went back to the same airport. Fare paid to driver was $16.60 for 22 miles and 28 minutes without any surge. The surge is now only a gimmick. They reduced the regular fare by the surge amount.

  3. This is not true. You have to log into drivers.uber.com/earnings, scroll down to more details and it shows you what the customer paid. Not as convenient as being able to see on the app no doubt but they’re not “hiding” the customer payments

  4. Yes. My app allowed me to see customers’ payments for a brief week in November. Then,on Thankgiving eve it was gone!! I always log into my account at the end of the day and see how much money uber took from me. If I can see it in real time, I may get upset and head back home. They know what they’re doing. One example from last night, customer payments : $71, Uber kept $25 and gave me $36 and the rest went to insurance! Criminal.

  5. The new upfront pricing scam is so horrible most drivers are making 40% less working the same hours they did before this scam was rolled out. We should always get paid based on time and distance not through an upfront pricing scam. This needs to stop.

  6. Took an uber home from SFO last week, and was quoted $44 and change from the app. Was talking with the driver during the trip, and it came up. He told me the app said he was only getting $18. Stunning how much uber was pocketing.

    Wish there were limits on how much they could take like there is for food delivery.

  7. I have been driving over four years
    Uber is definitely taking a bigger percentage after their “upfront pricing” scam they’ve instituted.
    I’ve surveyed many of
    My riders and found im
    Lucky if
    I get 50 percent of the fare!
    A good example of Uber nickel and diming drivers: minimum fare in San Francisco was always 6.00
    Now it’s 5.27 cents or 5.46 cents.
    Whenever Uber sees it’s
    Bottom line shrinking they screw the drivers.