Tue. Feb 27th, 2024

Uber drivers would earn $6.37 per hour

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Drivers keep less than half the price of rides, after fees are deducted. (Archive photo)

Radio-Canada

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The Ridefair Coalition, an advocacy group for independent workers on ride-hailing platforms like Uber and Lyft, estimates that once all expenses are deducted, drivers earn just $6.37 per hour of work, well below the Ontario minimum wage of $16.55.

Its members gave a press conference at Queen's Park to present the report drawn up from 96 weekly billing slips collected between October 2023 and January 2024.

The median income there was $16.22 per hour behind the wheel. Once the various costs are deducted, only $6.37 remains.

That's just the median, points out JJ Fueser who coordinated this work for the Ridefair Coalition. About half of the earnings per hour are actually lower.

No invoice provided income equivalent to the minimum wage and, in 42% of cases, once costs were deducted, drivers even worked at a loss.

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It seems shocking, but it matches estimates from other cities, continues JJ Fueser, which cites the cases of California (US$6.20/hour), Seattle (US$9.63/hour) and Denver (US$5.49/hour).

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JJ Fueser coordinated the report for the coalition using revenue sheets and estimating the different costs that apply in an hour to drivers.

Projected to all Toronto drivers, the shortfall would be $200 million per year. There's a lot of money at stake for platforms that defend the status quo, Fueser adds.

With these figures, activists aim to counterbalance the arguments of the Uber company. The latter claims that its drivers' income is $33.35 per hour.

Nobody believed us and everyone believed Uber's claims that we made $33 an hour, insists Earla Phillips, vice president of the Rideshare Drivers Association, a coalition member, and a driver for Uber and Lyft for eight and a half years.

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Earla Phillips insists on the need to give a decent income to the drivers of the different platforms, “essential workers”.

What explains this significant difference in results is that Uber only counts active time, that is to say when the driver picks up and when he transports passengers. But time spent between orders and vehicle costs are not taken into account.

Uber says it offers equivalent income at 120% of the minimum wage to its drivers. But ultimately it works out to $2.50 an hour at best, Fueser estimates.

Uber's minimum wage proposal does not propose a minimum wage.

A quote from JJ Fueser, researcher and co-author of the Ridefair Coalition report

We've had rules in this province for decades, and among them figure the minimum wage, supports Earla Phillips.

Official Opposition MPP Jamie West (NDP), who gathered members at Queen's Park for this press conference, believes it is completely unforgivable to let companies pay their drivers so little. He calls on the government to legislate to better defend these independent workers.

According to the Ridefair Coalition, you need at least an income of $37 per active hour to that a driver can hope to earn minimum wage.

The end of the report also recommends that the City of Toronto resume limiting the number of licenses issued.

A measure that can help prevent driver engagement rates from falling further – and earnings from falling even further below of the minimum wage, indicates the document.

The company Uber had contested the limit on the number of permits.

The Ridefair coalition report (New window)

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