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Uber not the road to riches, BuzzFeed report finds

An examination of leaked documents and Uber's own calculations finds that drivers in three major markets are making little more than retail workers.


Uber has long touted its ride-hailing service as a means to financial independence for its drivers. But a new report finds that drivers in three major US markets are making little more than workers at Walmart.

A BuzzFeed examination of leaked internal price-modeling data and Uber's own calculations suggest that drivers in Denver, Detroit and Houston earned less than $13.25 per hour after expenses in late 2015. Drivers in the Detroit market were particularly hard hit, earning $8.77 per hour after expenses. In comparison, Walmart promised in January it would pay its associates at least $10 per hour.

The report stands in contrast to a study (PDF) Uber released last year that showed Uber drivers earning an average of $19 per hour.

Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Driver compensation has been a touchy subject for Uber. In April, the San Francisco-based startup settled a pair of class-action lawsuits over how it classifies its drivers. Uber agreed to pay as much as $100 million to the roughly 385,000 drivers involved in the lawsuits. The drivers, in turn, would continue to be classified as independent contractors, meaning the company would not be responsible for all sorts of costs, including Social Security, health insurance, paid sick days and overtime.