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About Half of Uber, Lyft Drivers Make Less Than Minimum Wage: Revised Estimate

Initial revision to findings still doesn't paint a glowing wage picture for those that work for the ride-hailing services.

Researchers are dialing back the findings of a recent study looking at what drivers for Uber and Lyft make. They now say about half of the drivers for the ride-hailing services make under the minimum wage.

A co-author of the paper from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology acknowledged in a statement on Monday that he understood “how respondents could have” misconstrued two questions in a survey, saying they “should have been worded more clearly.”

Stephen Zoepf, executive director of the Center for automotive Research at Stanford University, said a “thorough revision” of the paper would take a few weeks to finish.

Still, after using guidance from Uber, Zoeph said a preliminary analysis still indicated that about 41 to 54 percent of drivers earn less than the minimum wage in their state, once expenses such as gasoline and car maintenance were taken into account.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who had bashed the initial study in a tweet, followed up with another thanking MIT for “listening and revisiting this study and its findings, calling it the “right thing to do.”

Reached for comment, Uber pointed to a study it conducted with Princeton’s economist Alan Krueger in 2015 that found drivers in 20 of its largest U.S. markets earned an average of $19.04 an hour, and a more recent one estimated gross hourly earnings of $21.07 for all drivers between January 2015 and March 2017.

The Uber spokesperson also cited another survey that found drivers making an hourly average of $15.68.

Lyft did not immediately return requests for comment on the revised earnings estimate.