The Massachusetts Institute of Technology published a study showing that Uber drivers only earn $3.37 per hour, when the drivers' actual expenses are taken into account. As might be expected, the study was immediately challenged by Uber and other ride-hailing services, and on March 6, 2018, the lead researcher, associated with The Center for Automotive Research, admitted that the study was flawed.
Driver earnings have long been difficult to calculate because of the piecemeal nature of working for the services. A few years ago, Uber advertised that drivers could make $90,000 a year in New York and $74,000 in San Francisco, a claim that was swiftly refuted. Uber paid $20 million to settle a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit that claimed its statements about earnings and a vehicle financing program were false and misleading.
The brouhaha underscores how vital drivers are to both services. Driver turnover is high — the study said it ranged from 50 to 90 percent, a statement that neither company disputed — so Uber and Lyft must constantly attract new streams of recruits to keep cars in service.
A harpoonlike device used for catching fish or frogs.