Study claiming Uber, Lyft drivers made $3.37 per hour gets revised upward

A recent study claiming that median pay for Uber and Lyft drivers was far below minimum wage prompted strong pushback from both companies and led the study’s organizer to publish a letter that significantly revised drivers’ earnings higher.

The revisions were done using two different methods to recalculate driver pay: the first showed median profit of $8.55 per hour and the second showed $10 per hour. The number of drivers making less than their state’s minimum wage also went down a lot.

The initial study, by the MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research, found that drivers’ median pretax profit was $3.37 per hour, using results from a survey of more than 1,100 workers of the ride hailing companies. 


Stephen Zoepf, who took full responsibility for the study and said he had hoped to solicit feedback on his work, revisited the numbers and found that some of Uber’s critiques were valid.

Uber, which did not specifically address the revised initial findings that were shared on Twitter, told Fox News in a statement:

“We thank Professor Zoepf for acknowledging a major flaw in his methodology and support his decision to conduct a thorough revision of the paper over the coming weeks.”

At the end of his letter, Zoepf called on Uber to “help make an open, honest and public assessment” of the range of profit after costs associated with obtaining and maintaining a vehicle are factored in.

After the initial findings were released, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi slammed them as “mathematically incompetent” in a tweet. The company’s chief economist said that although the firm had no objective with the rider cost estimates, the study used “inconsistent logic” to come up with its pay figures, which were lower than other studies.

Christopher Carbone is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @christocarbone.