A review of 14,756 rides found Uber and Lyft taking a much bigger slice of drivers' fares than they say they do


Uber Lyft protest

  • The car-news site Jalopnik asked Uber and Lyft drivers to send in their receipts in an effort to analyze how much the companies were skimming off the drivers’ fares.
  • In analyzing 14,756 fares, Jalopnik found that both companies were taking heftier chunks of drivers’ fees than had been reported.
  • Uber and Lyft disputed the figures, saying the sample sizes were not representative of the millions of rides taken each day.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A Jalopnik analysis of 14,756 ride fares from Uber and Lyft drivers found the ride-hailing apps to be taking a bigger bite out of drivers’ fares than they say they do.

The amount of money Uber and Lyft skim off drivers’ fares is referred to as the “take rate,” and it has been a point of contention in the past as drivers have protested their pay as inadequate.

Jalopnik asked Uber and Lyft drivers to either fill out forms where they could break down fares from a single ride or to send emails with data from all of a driver’s fares over a given time period. It found:

  • Overall, Uber took a 35% cut of rides, and Lyft took 38%.
  • Studying only the receipts sent in by drivers who kept records of all their rides over given time periods, the average takes were 29.6% for Uber and 34.5% for Lyft.

When Uber went public in May it reported its take rate for 2018 to be 21.7%, a number that dropped to 19% as of the second quarter of 2019. Business Insider previously reported Lyft’s 2018 take rate as 26%, though the company told Jalopnik it did not publicly share its take rates. The two companies also calculate the take rate slightly differently, with Uber factoring in tolls and surcharges.

For Uber, the 35% take rate that Jalopnik found was more than 84% higher than the number the company gave in an earnings call earlier this month. The 35% figure is close to the finding of a study last year by the Economic Policy Institute, which said Uber skimmed about 33% off of its drivers’ fares.

Read more: I’m a driver for Uber and Lyft — here are 10 things I wish I knew before starting the job

Both Uber and Lyft disputed Jalopnik’s findings, saying the sample size was too small to be representative. Both declined to provide Jalopnik with statistically significant datasets.

Jalopnik acknowledged that 14,756 represented only a tiny fraction of the millions of Uber and Lyft trips made each day. An Uber spokesman said roughly 15 million Uber rides took place every day worldwide. Jalopnik also conceded that there might have been selection bias for drivers unhappy with the cut being taken out of their fares.

Uber and Lyft were not immediately available for comment when contacted by Business Insider.

SEE ALSO: Uber and Lyft drivers reveal the scariest situations they’ve ever encountered

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