Huang, who drives for Uber and Lyft, once zoomed through San Francisco’s streets, chasing one fare after another. These days, he spends most of his hours behind the wheel at a couple of parking lots designated for ride-hailing companies at San Francisco International Airport. He gets a total of five or six orders a day from the airport, good for about $180. When he factors in his costs, his take drops to just over $100.
Still, Huang considers himself lucky to make that much in what is generally a 12-hour day.
A couple of days with Huang and the other airport denizens shows how the ride-hailing industry — now 14 years old — and San Francisco have changed. Uber are no longer startups flush with cash and able to offer drivers attractive and regular bonuses. Nor does San Francisco provide frequent, lucrative rides for scores of tech workers. Gigs downtown, says Huang, “are too small, and drivers may even lose money taking them.”
And so, like thousands of other drivers, Huang now spends more time in the airport lots than anywhere else. (At their request, Mission Local is using only the drivers’ first or last names.)
The drivers vie for one of 180 or so spots in the airport’s ride-hailing parking lots. Once they land a spot, it is a first-in, first-out queue on both the Uber and Lyft apps.
If drivers leave either
of these areas, they
are bumped to the
back of the queue.
terminal is a
couple of miles
to the north
Old Bayshore Hwy
120 parking spots
S McDonnell Rd
terminal is a
couple of miles
to the north
120 parking spots
S McDonnell Rd
If drivers leave either
of these areas, they
are bumped to the
back of the queue.
Map by Will Jarrett. Basemap from Mapbox.
A winding path to that $30
To queue up for a ride from the airport, a driver jockeys for one of the increasingly coveted spots inside the two designated lots. Most of the time the guards at the entrance tell drivers to move on — the lots are full.
While a handful of drivers give up, others simply keep circling the area, waiting for a space to clear.
“No matter how many rounds it takes,”says Zhang, a driver in his forties, when asked how long he will circle. Sometimes he makes 10 laps. Each lap, he calculates, takes 20 minutes, stopping and going in traffic, and burning gas.
Once inside, drivers sign on to the apps and the different queues: Uber XL, Uber X, Uber Green, Lyft and others. Uber X generally gets the most orders, drivers say.
Then, they wait for their number to come up. Meanwhile, they check what the Uber app tells them about arriving flights, but they also check FlightAware on arrivals, or even the ETAs of particular flights.
Like country club memberships, the lots have rules
Drivers in the queue must adhere to a series of stringent rules imposed by both the ride-hailing companies and the airport. They can be restricted from accepting airport orders if they fail to display their Uber sticker or airport placard, or don’t leave the lot immediately when they’re told it is full.
Notably, once the drivers get into the lot, they must stay to keep their place in the virtual line on the apps. Exiting for a quick burger at the nearby In-N-Out would send them to the back of the virtual line. Worse, the portable toilets in the lots are “scary and smelly,” says Hongyu, one of the few female drivers.
But still, they stay in the lots and wait for those airport rides that average about $30 a pop. The goal is to wait for a big ride. Uber allows drivers to reject three rides; Lyft allows none. To encourage drivers to take smaller rides, the apps allow drivers who take a ride for $25 or less to regain their spot at the front of the queue once they return.
The waits can be unspeakably long. Earlier this month, Zhang was stuck in the lot from 7 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. turning down rides too small to help meet his mortgage. Then, he snagged an $80 rider with a $20 tip. Victory.
SFO UberX Lot 2 (open from
8am to 12am)
In this section, the driver is told
roughly how long they can expect
to wait in the queue.
30+ mins until pickup (est.)
UberX in queue
landing 3-4 PM
You may not be eligible for all the
This section shows all the virtual
queues the driver can be part of.
UberX is most commonly selected
category by users. Here, over 100
drivers are in the queue for UberX.
SFO UberX Lot 2 (open from
8am to 12am)
30+ mins until pickup (est.)
UberX in queue
landing 3-4 PM
You may not be eligible for all the
Graphic by Will Jarrett. Recreation of a screenshot of a driver’s phone taken March 9, while they waited for a ride in the SFO parking lot.
To pass the time, some of the drivers congregate at a spot in the center of one of the lots where someone has placed waist-high ashtrays that overflow with cigarette butts. The piles of butts teeter as drivers smoke and complain about luckless days, worthless rides, or getting a $120 ride to Sacramento, only to have to come back with no passengers.
Most of the drivers are people of color, and many are immigrants. (In San Francisco, people of color make up nearly 80 percent of the on-demand ride-hailing and delivery workforce, according to a 2020 study out of UC Santa Cruz.)
“There’s no other job for me to do,” Huang explains as he moves to position No. 25 in the Uber XL queue. In his 50s, he says, he is too old for a lot of jobs and he can’t speak English. He once worked as a chef, but he likes the freedom and flexibility of driving. “I can take as much time off as I want if my family has an emergency,” he said.
Still, he finds it physically taxing. When he returns home after driving 12 hours on the road, he’s so wiped out that his legs fail him. And, instead of eating the spicy dishes he once cooked, he now gets by with a cold lunchbox.
Zhang said that the hours he has to spend in the car to make ends meet have jumped from eight to 12 or even 14 per day. “If I have to do 16 hours in the future, then I definitely can’t do this anymore,” he said.
An asylum seeker, Zhang hasn’t been able to see his eldest child, who remains in China, for 10 years. “There’s very little left of this child’s feelings for me,” he says. He and his wife have worked hard to make money in the United States, but that’s endangered with the new economics of ride-hailing. His previous car reached the maximum mileage allowed by Lyft after only three years — months before he had paid off his car loan.
Moreover, the economics also aren’t working for Sayed, one of the thousands of Afghan full-time ride-hailing drivers in the Bay Area. By 2 p.m. on a recent Thursday, he hadn’t pocketed a penny and his position in line remained stuck at 91-95. To make things worse, he had to subtract the cost of driving from his home in Fremont. “To be honest, I’m tired. When you are not getting enough money, you are tired,” Sayed said. “A couple of times this year I thought about quitting.”
Like Zhang, Sayed has been considering a career change, but he realizes his options are limited. He injured his right knee during his nine years of military service in Afghanistan, eliminating the possibility of physical labor.
And so Huang, Sayed and the others wait. After all, they are inside the lots. They know that if they leave, one of the many cars lined up outside of the lots will gladly slide into their place. “There are at least 40 or 50 cars lined up outside now,” says Uber XL driver Lehua on a recent Friday afternoon.
That line, drivers say, often reaches all the way to Highway 101. At night, they say, the headlights of those in line nearly outshine the lights coming from SFO.
How you doin
People are understandably focused on results for individual drivers and not the whole picture regarding the proper compensation for individuals doing rideshare driving.
The government of this country is responsible for allowing transportation (an industry that used to be heavily regulated for safety and fairness) to be relegated to tech companies that claim they are not transportation companies. The hard work of so many thousands of drivers has produced enough income and credit for the largest of these tech giants to expand worldwide Seems to not be discussed much but in my opinion this will soon become one of the richest companies in the world. Already having purchased other transportation companies for takeovers that involve billions of dollars.
Publicly used Transportation (unlike most buisnesses) is a 24 hr a day buisness with income coming in constantly from all over the world. This tech company is now in so many countries worldwide that it is mind boggling estimating the actual amount of income they will be collecting per day worldwide.
They even get away with saying the rides are covered by insurance when actually the drivers and the drivers vehicles doing rideshares are not covered unless they procure the neccesary insurance themselves which costs the driver more than normal auto insurance.
The government agencies of this country supposedly in charge of transportation that allowed this to happen are a lot less intelligent than the drivers waiting in airport waiting lots to earn some cash. These government agencies could not figure out how to do anything about the situation! This ineptness also resulted in the medallions
which cab drivers paid so much for losing most of their value.
Drivers for the rideshare companies seem to be unable to organize themselves to form a union.
The compensation for rideshare drivers is being allowed to often become less than minimum wage which is in this country is supposed to be governed by law.
In my humble opinion this situation can only be remedied by the goverments of the countries where this tech giant now operates ,or by unions formed by rideshare drivers themselves.
Much love to all of you hard working drivers out there.
Keep on rockin in the free world!
I drive uber full time. It used to be. Etter with the bonuses. Ive driven in san antonio, san diego, cleveland, denver, colorado springs, and now full time in phoenix.
Its back to back rides but the minimum rides here now are 3 dollars with 32 minute trip time. I once got a ride for 50 miles and only got paid 22 dollars. I started hearing passengers complain they couldnt believe they were getting charged 120 dolars to go ten miles i was like excuse me? I made 22 dollars out of that ride. That was on lyft. Uber is better but still bad. Uber will give you 40 dollars out of the 100 charged. Anytime i see a ride for 40 dollars i know its over 100.
Ive tried to keep diamond status but honestly its not worth it. While working in cleveland it was dangerous to drive for uber. They keep sending you to dangerous areas, one time i messaged them about it and they said those people need rides too. So i told them to come down here from their office and give them a ride. Ive been shot at. Ive seen people get car jacked ive seen bodies in the street. Thankfully phoenix isnt like that and i feel a lot safer here driving for rideshare.
Money wise its absolute shit. Ive calculated out after all expenses we make about 7 to 8 dollars an hour. I surance is 300 bucks a month at its cheapest. Maintenance is about 5000 a year minimum with tires, oil changes, brakes, and rhats without any other factors figured into it. I do about 6k miles a month. Gas is 70 dollars right now. People say they make about 30 to 40 an hour doing this. But thats before expenses. Afterwards its worse than minimum wage. I made the mistake of doing it full time. Uber is good for part time weekend runs, or in between jobs. U get zero benefits, they take 60 percent, and your stuck with all the danger and expenses.
I drive for Uber in a medium sized city on the east coast and it isn’t like what is described in this article at all. It’s a high five figure or low six figure a year job if you are willing to put in the time/miles. Our area has a pretty good balance of riders and drivers, sounds like San Francisco does not.
Bob you are lying or UBER/ LYFT pays for you to lie. Shame on you!
You don’t even dare to tell your location or give any information how you “make” that money you lie about making. Oh maybe you work as an IT for UBER.
No respect for any driver who waits at an airport in a rideshare lot for a ride. These drivers are the least intelligence people alive. The best way to make the least amount of money possible in a day is to be an airport focused driver. While they wait in the lot,.intelligent drivers ate in the city giving back to back rides non-stop with no waiting between each ride. If you count the waiting time at the airport lot in your hourly earnings you are making minimum wage or less.
You will always make more money working and no money waiting yet idiots like to wait and be lazy and complain.
I can average $35 an hour downtown while drivers waiting at an airport in an hour long line to finally get a ride with a $25 fare earning $25 for 1hour wait and then 40 minutes or less on average to drop the passenger off is dumb.
Airport waits may be good for uber black or XL, but that’s just a maybe. They are all stupid idiots because they can instead hang around all the nice hotels with no waits and bring people to the airport earnings top dollar with no unpaid downtime.
You are the Smart person with special needs, needs to attack immigrants to justify your social status by mocking them who are simply trying to earn a living
They are the smart people clearly you are far from it those non english speakers wants to work smarter not harder
Why would they drive around aimlessly hoping for fares downtown when they can catch a big fish and go home instead of wasting resources on sardines
They obviously tried that route and its not sustainable to their wallets
They are driving to earn a living not driving to burn money that they dont have
Loan them your tesla free of charge so they can go in circles like your comments
And to all those old farts criticizing the author of this article, go write your own mumbo jumbo,
She is only focusing on a certain point of view for this article
I do not like the choice of words in his post, but he is right. I’ve done the math. I drive in San Jose. I avoid airport queues like the plague unless there’s a large bonus and few drivers in the queue. With the upfront pay, long rides have become a cost with your expenses higher, especially when you have to drive back empty, than your pay. Add to that the wait time. Short rides of 7 miles or less earn the most after expenses.
I’ll join this Convo. Rideshare is nothing more than a money grab for the companies anymore. They take up to 60% of the total fare, don’t care at all about us drivers, stick us with literally every expense, and when they are done taking they take more. Leave these dumb apps alone and start your own show. The rideshare now gets ZERO percent because I drove around all my clients now privately. Every driver should do this and bankrupt the greed
We have to be smart like them in order to survive while they make way more money 💰!
It is a trap if we don’t know their games.
Good luck driving and be safe on the road 🙏
I drive Uber in Pittsburgh, PA. Uber is now putting into ride amount the surge. In other words, .65 used to be the amount per mile. Plus as you enter the red surge area, the price will drop instantly. Uber support is criminal. Never call them. Radar now will show the lowest possible rate to all qualified drivers in a specific area. The surge won’t be included. On Lyft also I had a ride that was an hour long. Lyft charged over $208 for the trip, Lyft wanted to pay me 40. I have the screenshot to prove this. There are simply too many drivers on the road now. Sure surge comes if roads are bad with snow. The airport employees look at gig workers as an enemy. The port a john restrooms are always nasty. What’s confusing is why are so many undocumented immigrants gig workers? Don’t sit waiting for unicorn rides.
I drive Uber Philadelphia. The standards for drivers has changed dramatically since I began in 2015. The pay for drivers has dropped significantly while costs go up. The Ridesharing companies take in more profits while drivers assume all the risk and costs which escalate daily.
No way, I normally make $15/hour. Lyft rental is not great, apparently other driver get bonus I don’t get because I’m in the rental program. Usually make $300-500 a week driving every day(7) 8+ hours after the usual $400.00/w rental fee and not allow you to work with other platforms. I’ve consider buying a car just for this type of work but the math is not great. Hopefully I get a regular job again soon good luck wonderful people.
@missionlocal what are you even doing with this? I still absolutely respect the site but this is yikes. From a local.
It’s the Bay!!!! Put your cigarettes down and go hustle. Nobody is mad, if sitting at SFO was your gold mine and “the lines reach 101” and it isn’t working be more like us and less like this grad writer and figure it out. That’s what we do here and I drive for Uber.
I disagree. After doing this for so many damn years the go out and hustle mentality has been exhausted here. Myself and so many other drivers have have adjusted throughout the years only to watch these companies out maneuver is bc they have all the data. Of you really are set on hustling like that then take the drivers off the platform so UBER LYFT get ZERO
Who cares about the taxi drivers when Uber begin business?
Instead of making such terrible conditions to make ends meet, you need to have more comments on how to fix the problem. Your article is bias against the companies or just plain and simple not worth it. It is productive to serve the public?. Maybe if you as a columnist start with offset the lost of wages with an average tip of $5 for everyone who needs the service, then all those drivers won’t need to wait in one spot to get rides and the system could be a better version of a community riders helping drivers and vice versa.
I Uber in Denver and we call them “lot rats”. They are horrible for passengers and drivers alike. They plug up the airport waiting lot for that one perfect ride for hours on end, taking up space. People who need shorter rides are screwed by longer waits with these guys. Once they get that perfect ride, they drive empty to the airport again and then bitch about not making money. These people are stupid and I can’t feel bad for them.
I’ve driven Uber part time for 10 years. I’ve learned the worst thing you can do for your earnings is sit more than 20 minutes in the airport lot.
I drive Lyft/Uber on Oahu and you will not make more than $160 in 12 hours if all you do is wait at the lot.
I don’t even give it 20 minutes; once I hit 10 minutes, I leave.
It takes 1-3 hours to catch a ride in HNL and it’s 30 minutes+, each way to Waikiki (where well over 90% of rides go from the airport), so BEST CASE SCENARIO you’re looking at 2 hours round trip and the ride is typically only $15-$20.
So best case, they’re making $7.50-$10/hr. By avoiding the lot and taking whatever rides I get, I average $35-$40/hr, and rarely have unbooked time on my hands.
You MUST keep moving and take whatever comes up.
I have been driving for Lyft for a little more than 3 years now with over 13,000 rides under my belt. I can tell you that very much of what you described is to a large degree untrue. It seems to me that you have developed an inaccurate picture of what actually goes on relative to earning a living in rideshare. As a properly rated Lyft driver, I have never waited in the airport queue for more than three and a half to 5 minutes. The Rideshare system does not allow for one to sit in a lot for hours at a time. Even if that were so, I would find it very easy to exit the ride queue in the airport and find a ride immediately outside of the waiting area. Lately in the Bay Area I have had to shut my app off in order to take a break. I seldom wait for more than 5 to 10 minutes for a customer. By accepting virtually all of my requests without paying attention to the length of the fare in question I can earn between 3 to $400 during a 12-hour period easily. It usually takes me approximately 6 hours to earn between 180 and $250 generally speaking. I would gladly offer proof If you were to have any doubt relative to my claim. I really don’t intend to judge the people that you interviewed but it sounds to me like you were speaking with people who do not have a clear understanding relative to how to earn as a righteous driver.
Rideshare drivers are an odd lot. No benefits, insurance, retirement (guess what bro when you hit your retirement age – no ss or Medicare). When you subtract out overhead, depreciation, you’re better off long term working at McDonald’s. Study after study validates this. A wasted life that does nothing except to make money for the company.
Your experience isn’t typical for a rideshare driver. Earnings are definitely down with the “upfront pricing scheme” and certain drivers with better vehicles receive preference and better rides.
Brian, how many miles did you put in your car with your said 13000 rides in three years? ( I know you are lying big time) So please go ahead answer. Also how much you spent on fuel, tire changes, oil changes and other maintanance?
You cant just throw numbers in the air. There hard-working real UBER drivers are out, driving 12 hours a day ( the maximum one can drive within a 24 hours day). So stop bs-ing!
I drive for Uber and can say it’s likely these are bad drivers. The article is obviously biased. If Uber was so bad why would people still be doing it? Where are the happy drivers from this reporter? (Real journalism has multiple angles of the same story…)
Have the right vehicle and attitude and you can easily make a comfortable living. This article panders to lazy people with a self-pity galore.
I should go to China and complain about how I can’t speak Chinese and can’t make money because of that. Give me a break.
Antioch ca Pittsburg ca Bay point ca to Sfo round trip close to 180 bucks . To park it at a parking lot less 150 bucks if you do your smart shopping but could be as high as 260. Take bart less then $50. People are smart shopping. I did it Portland Oregon price check it was cheaper to rent car for 3 days and $10 in gas. Cost living going out to dinner and list goes on and on. I’m sorry uber and lyft. Times are tuff.
I’m a FT Uber driver in Reno, NV. I run a X in Reno, NV. There are times at the reno airport parking Q that is shared by Both Lyft and Uber. On a typical midweekday there will be about 8 Uber X, 7 XL 1 pr 2 Tesla Confort cars. On the weekend? There can be as high as 35 cars mixed user’s. X,XL, Comforts and Spanish speaking drivers. Most run both apps. Uber & Lyft.
Now most of the Drivers for Uber. Do Not display the TNC code for the Reno Airport. How ever to drive in the Reno NV area. One must have a Self proprietor business license from the city of reno to drive in the region. A typical ride from Reno Aorport to A residential area is about $9 to 15 bucks. Depends on miles. A ride pickup can be a little more depending on distance.
A ride from the Reno Airport to Incline village, NV. 43 miles. Can pay anywhere from $38 to $65.00 Depending on the weather? Chaining over the MT. Time of day and if the cars are available. Same with XL.
Now a trip from Reno to Sacramento. I try to tell the rider to take Amtrak. This happened last week. Reno to Sacramento. 127.6 miles Uber X driver pay was 112.00 It’s Not even a 1.00 a mile. Then the driver has to drive back to Reno. RT it’s 255 miles for $112.00 Fair. It was Snowing that day. Chains where required unless you have snow tires with 4 whl drive. Most ubers in Reno Do not know how to chain or don’t know how to drive in it.
The parking Q has No Restrictions. You can turn your app off. Go get lunch come back eat and wait watch the jets land and some talk to others. Some take a nap others clean there cars for the next ride.
On average a Uber X can clear $75 to 150 a day here.
Now on a busy weekend in Reno and Sparks. If their are a high number of cars at the Q . The Surg charge in Reno and Sparks go from light red to dark red. From 2.50 min to 42.00 for high demand.
Per ride. Some drivers go from the airport pickup a rider. And stay down town Reno and make $$$. Then want to take a break. Head back to the airport Q and wait for a inbound jet. Wait time can be less than 3 mins to 30 mins. Depends on what’s coming in and when. Long distance rides pay more. If the ride goes to incline or State line? After dropping off the rider. Stay up in the area for a hour. Driver might get a 25 bucks to pick up a few riders from MT. Rose Ski lodge and take them back to incline village. Distance 8 miles.
If the driver goes to Lake Tahoe area in NV? The Rate now changes. Add anther buck to the fair. From Incline Village to Truckee, CA. It’s anywhere from 42.00 to 65 .00 Depends on the hour if the day and if there are any drivers in the area. Most of the time. There are No drivers in the Incline Village area. Especially over the weekends. Now for a ride to the Reno Airport from Incline Village. Driver can make a easy $ $90- $140.00. Due to no drivers. State Line is a bit more higher. If a driver does take a rider to the airport. It’s a higher fair. Once back into Reno. There is No Restrictions at the parking Q.
Only thing you can Not do is leave your car unattended.
If some of the SFO Bay area drivers want to try the Reno area? I Encourage them to do so. I would encourage them to hang out an inclined village south lake tahoe stateline area. Especially over a weekend. Some drivers will park in a grocery store parking lot and take a nap in the back seat and not worry about anybody bothering them turn the app. On when you want to. Again nobody’s gonna harass you.
And the summer time a person can make close to fifteen hundred dollars over the weekend and incline village and state line nevada with no problems at all.
In the summer time when I am up in incline or stateline my car becomes an XL. I drive a in closed pickup truck. I can take people’s beach gear and up to 5 passengers in my truck. Your avg ride in Incline village is only 5 miles or so. And once ppl see your their. Word gets out. Your going to get dinged ever chance they can to you. I had some 5 riders stacked on my app. I had to call a friend if mine to get to incline to help with the rude demands. Yes!! No joke. Drivers think it’s all in Reno and Sparks or at state line, NV. It’s not. Incline village has high demand in the summer. Especially on the 4th.
The riders will always ask the driver here in Reno. How much to Sacramento or to SFO. Most of the drivers will turn down the ride. Can’t make no money coming back.
If we get a few riders to the strip club or to Mustang Ranch. Its about a 35.00 ride. Then the driver gets 15-20% kick back per passenger. From the ranch or strip club. That can add up fast if you have a bachelor party of 9
Hope this gives you a insight of a Uber driver in Reno. NV.
The article is misleading. I ride for Uber in the Bay Area. After an airport drop of you simple check how long the line is. If to long you drive back to the city, no more than 15 min and most of the time you get ride before that. Waiting from 7 to 4 to catch a ride is simple stupid and no Uber drive I know is stupid. You avg somewhere between 25-35 per hour this days during a 6 hour drive day.
You can drive back to the city but demand is down due to tech layoffs. Drivers can wait up to an hour now for a low-paying fare during non-peak hours and the market is flooded with out-of-town drivers on weekends.
I just got home after driving uber for 12 hours from Pittsburg to Salinas and back starting at 6 AM. I made 350$ after deductions I brought home 230$. This story is definitely trying to project a specific narrative.
I drove a taxi for years and I admit that the taxi industry has no one to blame for the failures of that system (lousy service outside downtown, unsafe vehicles). But shattering the whole system hasn’t brought about any benefits that people thought would happen. I waited at the airport for long periods of time but never all day! Wasn’t that the reason these companies were started so people not downtown could get rides? Guess not. Also, could it be that many of these drivers don’t know their way around SF (not downtown) and are uncomfortable there? I could drive anywhere in SF and know my way around and we didn’t have that pesky smart phone thing nagging me,”Turn left, Turn left!”
And if you drive in the city, a helpful hint. Those things called turn signals and flashers are there for a reason. Please use them. If you accept a ride to the city. (As an SF taxicab you were not allowed to refuse a fare.)
Uber and Lyft pays pennies for the drivers. Those companies pay from San Francisco downtown to Sfo between $15 to $17 dollars sometimes $12. How bad is this. Also San Francisco downtown to San jose $31 . This ride takes one hour plus 50 miles plus gasoline . And the driver mostly has to come back empty. So we drive 2 hours for $31 dollars. We make less than a minimum wage without any protection. The department of labor should do something about those companies. Most of the drivers doesn’t have option to have another job. It’s ridiculous how the government doesn’t do anything to protect people rights . We put our life in risk every day.
I find it hard to feel sorry too. You shouldn’t be in the U.S. if you can’t speak English.
The guy from China should be in Taiwan for example.
The guy from Afghanistan should use the GI bill to go to college.
that a very inconsiderate comment. the article specifically says he’s an asylum seeker. if he’s fleeing from prosecution in his home country, are you not able to understand why he isn’t able to speak english? it’s not an easy language to learn either especially at an older age
Reading this article did not do anything but make me feel irritated with the drivers. They are waiting in the lot for 9 hours, from 7am-4:30pm, turning down rides in between those hours just for the 1 ride? That’s a whole day’s shift gone for barely anything. It makes no sense as to why you would choose to turn down rides, just to wait all day in a parking lot. Uber should follow Lyft’s example and not allow any rejections. If the drivers are looking for more stable income, then this “as-needed” Gig work is not the right job for them. Uber and Lyft were not created to be full-time jobs, but merely as supplemental income. And then why would someone drive from Fremont to SFO? There are plenty of people and techies that need rides down in the South Bay, why waste your gas to drive to SFO, only to wait and turn down rides? It’s just ridiculous.
My husband drives for Uber. It’s his job because he injured his back and can’t do much else. When he turns down something it is because the $ they are offering won’t even pay for the gas. When he first started there was plenty of work to go around but the last 6 months has been really rough. At least he is working and not applying for disability which he could do but we choose not to. Also when all of these people stop doing this work then people will complain there aren’t any drivers or food delivery drivers.
I did Uber in the Bay Area in 2016 and I went everywhere and had riders all day making over 200 but the airport riders might be lucrative but I made more money driving on the streets. I now live and work in Reno for Lyft and on a good day with bonus streaks I can make up to 200 in 6 to 6 and a half hours. It’s hard no matter what but at least money is coming in and that is what I’m grateful for. I’m sorry to hear about the drivers in San Francisco. I used to drive in San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland, and all over the Bay Area.
It seems like Uber and Lyft need to work on their airport pricing. The last couple of times I have been at SFO, I tried repeatedly to get Uber drivers (for what would be a $45 ride) and it would take 4 or 5 minutes to get acceptance and then the drivers wouldn’t show up or would cancel. I was told by one driver who cruised past the waiting zone that drivers don’t want to go into the City in the evening because it takes too long.
I would be willing to pay more it meant that I promptly got an actual ride home. Instead I have started going to the taxi stand where there is rarely line and the price is just a bit more than my non-existent Uber ride
That $45 ride would have given the driver maybe 20 bucks.
You’d pay $45,… drivers would only get about $18,…why waste gas to breakeven or lose money. Generally people wouldn’t want to pay a living wage to get from point A To B,…it’s better when it’s cheaper and more affordable. Not accepting unprofitable rides is their rights to being self employed.
Actually as a driver if you don’t try to overthink it and just accept your rides and quit trying to calculate your earnings, you can make a really good living. You just need to keep a person in the seat at all times regardless of the length of the ride Etc then you can turn 10 to 12 hours into about $ 425 minimum. I do this 4 days a week sounds to me like you are overthinking it
This was a heartbreaking read. Uber and Lyft are getting rich doing next to nothing while enslaving those who make them rich. Bring in the competition and knock these tech bozos off their pedestals.
To all Lyft and Uber drivers. I’m a passenger. I get charged alot of money but I don’t have any choice right now. But I look at it like this you should trying to make this a full-time job. It’s called a side part time job only. Get a good paying job if you need more money. Because the more you complain than it’s going to be harder on the passengers that need the service. I understand you need more money for your household. There so many businesses closing. Because people don’t want to work the brick and mortal businesses. We in America complain so much its so sad. Especially here in the Bay Area. If you dont have any skills go to the community colleges and get a trade. So you can make more money other than driving for Uber and Lyft.
I wish I was in the bay area. I would make it easier for you to use Uber and pay less. Yes we do this in Reno for our regular riders. And it helps the rider and the driver out. Uber see a portion of it to.
I live in an average city kind of small i make $250 on a 7hr day after expenses. There is zero down time… maybe in real busy city’s its nit worth it cause they just sit in traffic half the day. Not sure but doing it full time where i live is over $30 per hour mist jobs pay less than that. Weekends i can make $40 per hour easily. No traffic after 7pm so u can fly from stop to stop. If your in a city making under $100 after expenses for 6hrs or less than i would not waste my time.
You must work for Uber .
Post your last week earnings .
I call your bluff :))
Uber is down to paying $3.45 for a total 12 min pickup .
I find it hard to feel sorry for these drivers. I have two friends who drive for legitimate San Francisco Cab Companies, and Uber and Lyft are eating into their business. The latter two began as part of the Gig Economy, meant to supplement one’s income, NOT be a full-time job. If they want to drive a cab in San Francisco, let them do what Yellow, DeSoto, Luxor and all the other cat drivers have to do: get a medallion, pay a “gate” fee, pass a Background Check, and all the other LEGAL processes drivers have to go through to drive a cab in San Francisco.
I have been driving for 7 and I have been told by passengers that they turn down the street rides and wait for the airport I stay busy for 3 to 4 hours
I’m Uber driver in the state of Delaware. Our ability to make decent money has diminished dramatically. Uber is absorbing sometimes 40 to 50 % of the fair. Where I go from here is unknown. It has become difficult to meet my monthly obligations. It’s not worth driving anymore. I’m 72 yrs.old . I don’t have a lot of options for employment. Thanks for letting me share. Investors are making the money . Look at the stock and how it has risen.
Investors aren’t making money. Uber and Lyft CEOs and overstaffed tech employees are making the money. Look into Alto or FareEats. Alto is doing great but you’d be an employee. Fare launched in Toronto and has been doing awesome. They’ve just started their good delivery part in the US (FareEats) and will start their timeshare here too (Fare).
Why would they wait? Acting like a lot of small rides won’t equal one big ride is called being bad at math.
The math does seem odd. Even a short ride in the City is at least $10. If a driver gets just two of those an hour they will be making much more than the $180 for 12 hours discussed in the article.
You obviously are clueless. Wait 2-3 hours for a $10 ride. Let those add up and after 12 hours they make 50 bucks Minus the gas…
I have driven for Uber and I picked the tendency to ask passengers how much are they paying for their rides. One thing I noticed is that both Uber and Lyft are taking more that’s what they agreed. I drove a passenger during prime time hours fro the airport and Lyft paid me $61 while charging the rider $139. And that is one of many. Both Lyft and Uber are keeping 40-60% of the fairs nowadays, instead of what they promised to take which it was 25-30%. Dane thief’s is what I think.
It’s also happening in Reno, NV. It’s a rip off that Uber is trying to make up with what they list from cova19. RENO drivers said enough is enough. We took it to the News Stations. Told the riders on the news what and how Uber was ripping off the passengers and the drivers. Told the ppl thru the news. Stop using Uber and lyft till this problems stops.. Now Uber just bought back the weekend and weekly trip bonus. Do 40 rides make 45 and so on.
This amounts to slave labor. The ride share companies are taking extreme advantage of these drivers. Someone with authority needs to hold rideshares accountable.
SF has 2% unemployment. If they would do something else they could make more. Waiting and ignoring multiple shorter runs is an example of Moby Dick syndrome. Looking for the whale, while 10 smaller fish could easily feed you.
Not enough time in day to get 10 smaller fish. You presented an uninformed analogy.
i too look at the various immigrant populations that supplement our SF lifestyle and thanks for the reporting and gives us a glimpse into the underbelly of daily life that is often invisible and disregarded in everyday life that most of us see.
Uber & Lyfr no longer let the driver know what you pay!! Why? Uber & Lyft say they are taking only 25% of the overall ride fare but they are lying. Uber & Lyft are taking 40%-60% of an average fare, say $10-$30 to a rider. But when a rider pays some crazy $50-$100+ fare, because of a “surge” or “prices are higher right now because it’s busy”, the driver is getting at times 15% or 25% of what Uber & Lyft are charging you riders. Yes they are completely screwing drivers. I have asked some riders what they paid, and they showed me $123, and I received $32. Thanks Lyft & Uber. Unethical companies.