As carpooling prices skyrocket, Uber and Lyft take bigger bite of the cake – .

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As carpooling prices skyrocket, Uber and Lyft take bigger bite of the cake – .


One weekday afternoon in July, I booked an Uber at my home in Visitacion Valley, a 2.5 mile trip for about $ 17.16. My driver – we’ll call him Ryan – showed me how much he made: $ 7.54.

Uber has long claimed that the amount it takes off fares on average, known as the “take rate,” is around 25% – yet the driver only received 44% of my payment. A quick Google search can quickly bring up screenshots that show this is nothing new, and plenty of media outlets have collected data to better understand business participation rates.

What is new is the growing appetite of ridesharing companies. Not 25 percent satisfied, they now seem to need or want more – often half the fare, and in some cases nearly three times the advertised take rate, based on the end result of 20 recent trips.

Perhaps the most comprehensive attempt to track prior appetite came in 2019, when outlet Jalopnik looked at 14,756 tariffs and concluded that Uber kept 35% of revenue, while Lyft kept 38%. (Uber and Lyft disputed these analyzes but did not provide Jalopnik with datasets upon request demonstrating otherwise.)

However, as the supply of carpooling drivers declined and prices skyrocketed, the split became unseemly. The driver’s remuneration is determined by a base amount, the duration of the journey, its distance and the price of the potential surge, as well as incentives such as making a certain number of journeys within a period of time – and is do not determined by what customers pay.

We decided that another attempt to track corporate take rates was in order. Mission Local booked 20 trips in San Francisco with drivers who shared their pay for our trips. Drivers said demand was indeed back and prices were higher, but none said they noticed higher pay per ride.

Unscientific sampling showed that over 10 trips, drivers with Uber averaged 56% of what I paid; out of 10 with Lyft, drivers average 47% of what I paid. Of the 20, drivers took home an average of 52% of what I was billed.

To calculate how much Uber and Lyft are making, there are certain fees that need to be considered.

For Uber, airports aside, their share comes after city tax at around 3.25%, typically less than a dollar in San Francisco.

Lyft does not show drivers a per-trip charge breakdown beyond what they do. In an email, the company explained that it had replaced drivers’ single-trip breakdown with a weekly snapshot of how much drivers pay per week. They do this, Lyft wrote, to highlight aggregate income and information rather than individual ride details, which the rideshare company says can be misleading.



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