Winter 2022

Rideshare Drivers Prop 22 Pay Study!

Eye-opening Data to Motivate Change

by Tyler Sandness, RDU Support Staff

The Prop 22 pay study is out! What we learned was eye-opening; when we look at all the time spent on the road, and all the expenses that drivers pay, along with the many benefits we miss out on as misclassified contractors, we only make on average $6.20 an hour!   

In  October 2021, over 50 RDU drivers signed up to independently collect their driving data and test what the earnings ACTUALLY were under Prop 22. Through Drivers Seat Co-op - an app that ran simultaneously with the driver app - drivers collected real-time data on when they accepted a ride, where they picked riders up, where they were dropped off, how many hours they worked, and how many miles they drove. Over the period of a month, data was collected on 12,000+ rides across the entire state; from the Bay Area, to the Central Valley, to the Southlands. 

Through much of this year, we analyzed what was collected, took a realistic look at expenses incurred by rideshare drivers, and created a formula to determine the true net earnings that drivers make under Prop 22.

In our calculations we included: expenses for the operation, depreciation, and maintenance of our cars; the extra burden of self-employment taxes we pay; the amount we need to save for an unexpected “rainy-day” (to make up for no access to social safety net programs like unemployment, workers comp, and paid sick days, etc.); and health insurance. These expenses alone can eat up between 70% and 80% of what the company pays us! By applying the formula to the pay drivers received during the study period to the actual number of miles and minutes spent driving, drivers averaged $6.20 an hour! 

This pay study really shows the dangers of misclassification: by categorizing us as Independent Contractors, Lyft & Uber have shoved the operating costs of their business onto drivers, but have denied us the ability to negotiate our pay and contract terms. The squeeze we are feeling from shrinking wages and growing expenses is very real. 

This study also shows why Prop 22 needs to be overturned, and why we need to stop these companies from “selling” this bogus business model to the rest of the country. 

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