After change, sometimes only half of what you pay goes to your Uber driver


AUSTIN (KXAN) — If you notice you’re having a harder time finding a ride on Uber or Lyft next Friday, there’s a reason for that. Some drivers are planning on a strike. 

A rideshare driver sent KXAN a message that’s going around on social media. It says “A day without a driver: do not participate in rideshare economy today. Demand for higher fares and better pay.” 

The strike is planned for Friday, Aug. 3.

After speaking with several rideshare drivers, KXAN found out sometimes only about half of what you pay goes to the driver. 

“If you have a 2-mile ride, but you get stuck in traffic, which in San Antonio and in Austin, we all know it happens all the time, you can spend 30 minutes with a passenger in your car, and you made $4,” said Netasha Aguirre. 

She said when she first started driving for Uber, the company had a set rate that was taken out of each fare. She said Uber took 20 percent of what passengers paid. Drivers made 80 percent. Many other drivers told us the same breakdown. 

But earlier this year, many drivers and Aguirre said they noticed a change.

“We’re paid by mile and by minute,” she said. “I’ve had it where I made $4 and Uber made $7.”

Many drivers we talked to said when Uber updated the drivers’ app, they also did away with the set rate. The drivers told us now there’s a new formula, and Uber’s share seems to be different every ride.

One driver shared a screenshot of his fare breakdown that said the passenger paid $26.02. He took home $12.53, and Uber took $13.49.

Another screenshot from a different driver showed on a $10.67 ride, the driver making $5.52 and Uber making $5.15.

A different Austin-based driver showed us a few of his trips. He said Uber’s share on each trip varies. “The trip that I showed you is 32 percent. This one’s 36 percent. And it’s just kind of it’s all over the board. There’s no set thing,” he said.

With the new formula, he said it’s hard to know exactly how much they’ll be able to make.

“Since Uber’s changed the rate structure and pay structure for drivers, it is a little shocking, and it is frustrating,” he said. “We were accustomed to roughly what we were going to gross on our trip to now it’s just kind of up in the air. We just don’t know.”

Drivers said even with the lower net profit, they still have to pay the same amount to maintain their cars. “Gas, I’m probably spending about $40 a day in gas when I’m driving,” one driver said.

They say that makes it tough. “That’s my car, my seats, my A/C, my gas, my oil, my tires, my time,” Aguirre said.

Some drivers hope one day without drivers can help get their voices heard. “At least it should be something to get them to realize OK, our company is only existing because of these drivers,” said Aguirre.

On Thursday, Uber released a study by Economic Development Research Group measuring the economic impact of Uber in Texas. According to the study, 25 percent of drivers were unemployed before they started working with Uber; however, 89 percent of drivers also earn income from other sources. 

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