Rideshare driver earnings are at a 5-year high!

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Are you feeling the surge

Rideshare drivers are raking it in these days. In fact, the levels of earnings we saw in the latest Gridwise data show that earnings per trip for rideshare drivers are at a five-year high. In this post, we’ll share what we know and how it affects gig driving now and in the future. Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • How much rideshare drivers are making per hour
  • Driver earnings per trip
  • Which gig did best over the last year?
  • Which gig is doing best in 2021?
  • Once the economy reopens, what might happen to all the driving gigs?

How much rideshare drivers are making per hour?

“Sweet,” “Amazing,” “Awesome,” “Incredible…” These are just some of the words we hear from drivers when they see how much earnings are up these days. We at Gridwise are pretty astounded too; in fact, we haven’t seen rideshare earnings this high in five years.

One way to understand this surge in driver income is to study trends in earnings per hour. We had data that gives us the average hourly earnings for rideshare drivers across the country. Let’s take a look at what’s been going on:

During 2020, a miserably rough year for rideshare, many drivers shifted to delivery, or found other ways to make a living. Now, though, thanks to a resurgence in demand for rideshare and a slew of driver incentives, rideshare has once again taken off, and earnings are reaching levels we haven’t seen before. 

Over the dark months of 2020, rideshare driver earnings per hour averaged $18.71. Drastic changes, for the better, have come in 2021. In January 2020, although the pandemic had not yet begun, rideshare earnings per hour were only $15.34 – and by April of 2021, they skyrocketed to more than $25.00.

With a shortage of drivers and a resurgence in demand, the rideshare companies have been doing everything they can to get drivers to come back. Read about the incentives they’re offering in this Gridwise post. Incentives have played a major role in boosting rideshare driver earnings to the current levels, and that’s something drivers should keep in mind while enjoying this surge in driver earnings. It won’t last forever, but it’s here now so enjoy it while it lasts.

How much have rideshare drivers been making per trip?

When we look at earnings per trip, we can see even stronger indications of a robust growth in earnings in recent months. It’s hard not to be “wowed” by the picture this graph gives us.

Rideshare drivers’ earnings per trip have shown an impressive rise, ever since the beginning of 2021. This could partly be due to the driver shortage and the amount of incentive pay companies are currently handing out. From January 2020 to January 2021, the average earnings per trip for rideshare was $10.88. By April 2021, it had jumped to $14.51.

We can confidently say we haven’t seen earnings per trip as high as we’ve seen in May 2021 in the last 5 years, if ever.

Incentives may not be the only reason, however. Recent analysis, as we present in this Gridwise blog post, indicates that there’s more to it. Due to more demand and higher pay for drivers, more drivers are coming back. The incentives are going down, but…earnings remain solid and still on the rise! This is the kind of sign that reassures us that the health of rideshare is coming back as economies around the country open up.

What’s doing best in 2021, rideshare or delivery?

It’s obvious that rideshare is on the rise so far in 2021, and that the rise in earnings will continue, at least through the second quarter of the year. Both Uber and Lyft stated in their annual reports that they were committed to offering incentives to drivers through June 2021. In fact, Uber plunked down $250 million to win back old drivers and attract new ones. Lyft, also, is offering incentives to drivers, and both companies are looking to customers to help bear the extra costs.

That means rideshare passengers are paying large surge prices, and so far they’re paying them willingly. It’s possible that in the giddiness of being released from pandemic-related shutdowns, people will gladly pay extra to get out and be with others once again. This allows us to surmise there will be a big bounceback for rideshare. Certainly, rideshare offers many advantages over crowded buses, subways, and trains; so those who can afford it will likely continue to look to Lyft and Uber to get them around.

Delivery, picked up like crazy in 2020, and it looks as though it will remain a staple of everyday life even after the shutdowns are over and the pandemic passes. There’s a huge demand for food delivery, and grocery delivery yielded more business than anyone might have imagined before the pandemic came along.

Parcel delivery also gained momentum during this time. Ordering items online had already become immensely popular before the pandemic, but once people were unable and/or unwilling to go out for their shopping, it became even more common.

We don’t know yet what delivery will do over time, especially as businesses continue to open and resume operations. Yet, delivery companies are also offering incentives to drivers, hoping that they’ll either stay with delivery, or perhaps new drivers will be attracted to delivery once federal subsidies for unemployment expire. Read this Gridwise post to learn more about what delivery companies are doing to entice more drivers to work for them.

How much will rideshare drivers be making once the economy reopens?

Notwithstanding the trauma the pandemic inflicted on the world, the conditions it created have introduced consumers to services like rideshare and delivery on a broader scale. In this September 2020 article, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce projects that delivery services will continue to be wildly popular, even after shutdowns end and people are able to go out to do their own shopping.

The convenience of shopping online and/or having food and groceries delivered has certainly shown people there are better ways to use their valuable time. Also, delivery services have improved greatly in the past year or so. As more drivers sign on to work for these companies, and if companies are pushed into offering more incentives and better working conditions, delivery will invariably remain a staple of contemporary life.

Rideshare also has a promising future. As more people return to their previous levels of need for rideshare trips, demand will continue to rise. And, as our recent data have shown, even as the driver shortage abates and the incentives become less generous, rideshare earnings are still rising. It’s hard to say how long the rise will last, but as earnings are beyond levels we’ve ever seen before at this point, it’s safe to say that rideshare driver earnings will continue to be stable, at the very least.

While both Uber and Lyft still struggle to attain profitability, they’re trimming the fat in their organizations and focusing on what’s really bringing in revenue. Lyft recently sold its Autonomous Vehicle division to Toyota, and Uber offloaded its driverless car division to Aurora Innovation. 

Both companies plan to revitalize their rideshare business and expand their delivery options as well, as Lyft gets more involved in delivery and Uber Eats expands to include more selections, including prescriptions and merchandise from stores that have little or nothing to do with food.

With all this activity in the gig driving world, it’s difficult to say drivers should abandon delivery and stick to rideshare, or the reverse. Our answer is that both gigs will be successful, and drivers will too. That’s why it’s more important than ever for drivers to leverage their options, keep track of which gigs are making the most money for them, and watch your rideshare earning rise right before your eyes.

Track your earnings and keep current – with Gridwise

Whether you’re committed to being a rideshare-only driver, are dedicated to delivery, or are taking a taste of both worlds, Gridwise can make your job a whole lot easier. Track each of your app’s earnings … seamlessly. Simply sync each gig to Gridwise, go online at the beginning of your driving shift, and let Gridwise crunch the numbers and create attractive, useful graphs like these: 

You can also record your expenses as they pile up, so you’ll have an accurate accounting of all your gig driving earning and spending activity.

Gridwise keeps you wise to news for drivers with our informative blog and cutting-edge YouTube channel. Join us on Facebook to be enlightened to what’s happening in the driver community, and get in on our gas card giveaways.

Gridwise is the ultimate assistant for rideshare and delivery drivers! We don’t want you to go without all these great advantages, so if you haven’t already… download the app now!

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