News & Politics

Here’s How Much Uber Drivers Make in Washington

Photograph by 360b via Shutterstock.

Uber has recruited drivers to its ride-hailing service by advertising earnings of up to $90,000 a year. While drivers who approach those those figures are found as commonly as unicorns and dragons, the company—along with its closest competitor, Lyft—keep drivers’ actual earnings very secretive.

But according to Sherpa Share, a service used by people tabulating the money they make while driving for Uber, Lyft, Postmates, Instacart, and other companies in the on-demand economy, Uber drivers around Washington don’t come close to the company’s lofty promises. Drivers in DC on the UberX platform made $12.17 per trip in May after expenses, according to data released Wednesday by Sherpa Share. Lyft was a bit more lucrative, with drivers behind the “glowstaches” taking in $13.95 per trip.

Graphic via Sherpa Share.

The data released by Sherpa Share include all trip data entered by its users over the first five months of 2015 across the country. Washington was the third-most generous market out of 20 major US for Lyft drivers in May, but for Uber drivers, it ranks in the bottom half. DC’s Uber drivers were out-earned in May by their counterparts in New York, San Francisco, Miami, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Austin, Seattle, Cleveland, Atlanta, and San Diego.

New York is a significant outlier, though, with drivers there on both paltforms making more than twice the national average, Sherpa Share’s data show. Overall, drivers on ride-sourcing apps in Washington track closely to Sherpa Share’s national figures. The service found its users on Uber and Lyft earned $12.62 per trip over the first five months of 2015, though those in DC earned 3.5 percent more.

The per-trip figures are difficult to translate into monthly or annual earnings, but at $12.17 per ride, an Uber driver would need to complete 7,395 trips to reach the company’s lofty promises.)

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Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.