Your eyes will pop when you see how much Uber drivers are earning. The WaPo reports:
According to Uber, the median wage for an UberX driver working at least 40 hours a week in New York City is $90,766 a year. In San Francisco, the median wage for an UberX driver working at least 40 hours a week is $74,191.
Uber has received a lot of criticism from cab companies, with several European countries stepping in to ban or limit the popular taxi-service app. But maybe the protesting cab drivers (who in the U.S. earn an estimated $30,000 a year on average) should think again.Why is Uber so successful?
Unlike traditional cab companies, Uber capitalized on the rise of smartphones to better serve customers. It has created a more efficient marketplace for connecting those who want to get a ride, and those offering rides. Uber drivers don’t need to waste time circling blocks, hoping to be in the same place as someone who wants a ride. Less downtime means more fares and more money.
The company is growing rapidly and even luring cabbies away from traditional companies:
[…] Since being founded in 2009, Uber has expanded to 60 cities in the United States and says it can deliver a ride to 43 percent of Americans within five minutes. An ECONorthwest study Uber commissioned found that the company has a $2.8 billion a year impact on the U.S. economy, through direct, indirect and induced means.
To grow so significantly, the company has brought hundreds of thousands of drivers on board. According to the San Francisco Cab Drivers Association, one third of its drivers ditched their registered cabs in a 12-month span to drive for services such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar.
We’d say the astonishing profitability of Uber, both for itself and its employees, is one of the best signs that the future service economy might not be the step backward that many fear. That’s in line with this essay from Walter Russell Mead, in which he argues that the disruptions of old industries by web-based upstarts should be welcomed, no matter how bad the short-term upheaval looks to the established stakeholders. On top of that, the new service jobs won’t necessarily be as demeaning or unimaginative as you might think.
Uber’s surprisingly prosperous drivers surely have nothing to complain about.