If you are considering a career as a rideshare driver in Pittsburgh, knowing the income of rideshare drivers for various TNCs can be helpful. According to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a survey of rideshare drivers in 20 cities across the United States found that drivers in Pittsburgh are roughly in the middle of the pack when it comes to how much they earn per trip. But does income vary between the different transportation network companies (TNCs)? To answer this question, we’re comparing the rideshare driver income in Pittsburgh between Uber, Lyft, and zTrip.
Uber driver income in Pittsburgh
The income of Uber drivers in Pittsburgh is predictable thanks to the driver salary projections Uber Fare Estimator, which is updated frequently.
The fare for UberX in Pittsburgh is currently $0.15 per minute plus $1.1 per mile. On top of that, there is a $1.3 base fare plus a $1.8 booking fee. Thus, according to the fare estimator, the average Pittsburgh trip pay out for an UberX driver is $14.93. Since Uber drivers on average make about 2 rides per hour, the hourly UberX rideshare income equates to approximately $29.85. Assuming an average Uber driver dedicates to work about 30 hours per week, the overall per-week earnings would be $896 — making annual income for a Pittsburgh UberX driver equal to $46,566.
However, this estimation does not include driving during a time when surge pricing is available. Surge pricing means that Uber increases the fare prices during certain times of higher demand, making these hours more attractive for drivers. Uber refers to surge pricing as “Earnings Boost”, which guarantees surge pricing on fares that originate from a certain area at a certain time while charging the passenger regular prices. Driving during these times will subject the entire fare to a multiplier (i.e. 1.8x), which can have a significant impact on rideshare income.
Uber often advertises that they only charge a 25% commission of the fares. According to The Rideshare Guy, however, these figures ignore the “Booking Fee” that the company adds on top of each ride, which goes solely to the TNC. The booking fee amount varies from city to city. The resulting effects of this fee and the 25% commission mean that when passengers end their Uber ride and only see a $5 charge, the driver will get around half of that.
Lyft driver income in Pittsburgh
Lyft also provides a breakdown of fares and fees that go into calculating rideshare income on their website. According to Lyft, driver pay includes time spent waiting, starting one minute after you’ve confirmed your arrival. The ride fare includes base fare, cost per mile, and cost per minute. In Pittsburgh, the base fare is $1.30, the cost per mile is $1.10, and the cost per minute is $0.15.
Alvia.com shares methodology for calculating the total rideshare income of a Lyft driver in Pittsburgh based on the following:
An average trip for a Lyft driver pays out approximately $11.66 in the Pittsburgh area, and Lyft drivers are able to complete about two full trips per hour (i.e., a total of $23.32). Since an average Lyft driver works about 30 hours per week, the total per-week earnings are $699.60 per week — making a year’s salary for a driver $36,379.
Similar to Uber’s Surge Pricing, these salary projections don’t include the Prime Time multiplier that Lyft offers during times of high demand. According to the Lyft website, guaranteed Prime Time is a way for drivers to boost earnings while providing rides for passengers during the busiest times, such as major holidays, promotions, or events in certain markets. During these times, rides will include Prime Time earnings at or above the promotional amount. For example, drivers will receive either a text message or email that during a time range (i.e. 8AM to 11AM) driving in a specific area will allow them to receive a multiplier of their earnings (i.e. 1.5x).
zTrip driver income in Pittsburgh
zTrip does not publish figures of driver income like Uber and Lyft, but they do advertise that drivers keep 100% of their fares and tips. Since zTrip was developed for the taxi company Yellow Cab, we can estimate the rideshare income by looking at salary reports for the average Pittsburgh taxi driver. According to Salary.com, as of May 2017 the median annual salary for taxi drivers in Pittsburgh is $33,048, with a range usually between $27,451 – $40,335.
Uber vs. Lyft vs. zTrip
After comparing the rideshare income for these three TNCs in Pittsburgh, it appears that Uber offers the highest income for drivers with an annual salary estimation of $46,566. However, it’s important to keep in mind that all of these projections do not include external factors that could impact base pay. For example, Uber and Lyft both offer the incentive of surge pricing for drivers during certain times, while zTrip does not. On the other hand, zTrip gives drivers the option to rent a company car, which would reduce the costs of vehicle maintenance and repair when compared to Uber and Lyft. Overall, all three TNCs provide an opportunity for Pittsburgh residents to earn a decent income as either a part-time or full-time career.