How much do Uber drivers earn in New York City in 2021?
Like many sectors, driver pay has taken a hit over the past year or so. But with driver shortages and a push to boost earnings, is this now changing? And what do the latest stats tell us about what TLC drivers can expect to earn in 2021?
Here we examine how the rules on driver pay have changed over the past two years, the trends on pay in the run-up to lockdown, and what’s happening now.
We also look at some of the other factors to consider when thinking about pay, expenses and benefits.
The following information is accurate at the time of writing on August 2, 2021.
The minimum pay standard
Since February 2019, TLC rules have applied which aim to protect driver earnings. Rather than setting a minimum wage, these rules require drivers to be paid a minimum amount per trip.
The pay standard has three parts: time, distance and utilization, meaning the share of time drivers spend with passengers. Drivers can use the driver pay calculator to check the minimum payment for trips.
These rules apply to what’s called High-Volume For-Hire Services such as Uber, Lyft and Via. The TLC says the changes meant more than 80,000 will have seen “significant increases in earnings due to the minimum pay standard.”
Driver pay rates will change from time to time, but currently for Uber are:
Non-Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) trips:
- $1.103 per mile
- $0.502 per minute
- $1.429 per mile
- $0.502 per minute
Standard rates apply within city limits. Outside of New York City, these rates apply:
- $1.280 per mile (non-WAV)
- $1.658 per mile (WAV)
- $0.582 per minute
Before and after the pandemic
Before March 2020, research from Ridester found that average Uber driver earnings had increased by 31% compared with 2018. Yet one month after lockdowns were introduced, driver surveys suggested that rideshare income had fallen by over 80%.
Ridester estimates that in New York Uber drivers can earn an average of $26.24 an hour. Recent figures from Uber put the figure higher at $37.44, saying more riders are requesting trips in 2021 with not enough drivers to meet demand.
Data from jobs and salary websites give a range of estimates of average yearly salaries for Uber drivers in New York, from $40,198 to $48,000.
Things to think about
A lot of different factors will affect an individual driver’s pay, beyond the base rate, tips and any bonuses.
Expenses such as car/lease payments, gas and vehicle maintenance all eat into your take-home pay, and there is also the cut that Uber and other platforms take.
Based on nationwide estimates, Uber says costs for the Toyota Prius and the Toyota Camry (the two most popular vehicles on the platform) tend to come in at $3-$4.50 an hour.
So it’s worth thinking about what benefits you can access to lower your costs.
Labor group IDG represents rideshare drivers and offers a number of benefits through The Black Car Fund. These include access to remote medical consultations (including for Covid-19 symptoms), annual eye exams and dental insurance. You can find out if you’re eligible here.
At INSHUR, we look for ways to help TLC drivers stay on top of their earnings and save time. Check out your insurance options with INSHUR here.