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Lyft drivers are happier than Uber drivers (probably because they earn more)

Lyft drivers are happier than Uber drivers (probably because they earn more)

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And nobody likes carpooling

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Lyft At Its San Francisco Headquarters Showcasing Lyft Cars, The Glowstache, The Lyft App, Lyft Passengers And Drivers
Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Lyft

Who’s happier: Uber drivers or Lyft drivers? Harry Campbell, a former Uber driver who runs The Rideshare Guy blog and podcast, recently surveyed over a thousand gig economy drivers and thinks he has the answer.

An astounding 75.8 percent of Lyft drivers agreed with the statement that they were satisfied with their experience driving for Lyft, while only 49.4 percent of Uber drivers could say the same. This may be because Lyft drivers earn about $1.82 more per hour, which can be explained by Lyft’s higher base rates and payouts for drivers across the board, as well as the allowance for in-app tipping. Uber drivers said they earned an average hourly rate of $15.58 before expenses, compared to $17.50 an hour for Lyft drivers.

Lyft drivers earn about $1.82 more per hour than Uber drivers

Also worth noting that the percentage of Uber drivers satisfied with their experience driving for Uber has remained relatively unchanged from Campbell’s 2016 survey.

Uber drivers may be more disgruntled, but that may be because there are simply more of them to consider. Seventy-five percent of respondents said they drove for Uber, compared to 20.4 percent for Lyft. At least 67 percent of drivers said they drove for two services or more.

Of course, Campbell is not a professional pollster, nor was his survey scientific. As such, the results of his survey may not be indicative of the entirety of the Uber and Lyft workforce. That said, he got a lot more responses to this year’s survey compared to last year. He emailed 30,000 subscribers to his newsletter the first week of January this year and heard back from 1,150 drivers. Last year, he got only 453 responses.

“Uber still has a long ways to go with turning the tide for drivers.”

Campbell said he was most surprised by the satisfaction of Lyft drivers compared to Uber drivers. “I think that Uber still has a long ways to go with turning the tide for drivers,” he said in an email.

There’s evidence that Uber is trying to improve its relationship with drivers. Uber’s head of North American operations Rachel Holt, recently starting to drive herself, and the company also hired Jeff Jones, former head of marketing at Target, as the new president of ride-sharing in charge of improving the company’s relationship to riders and drivers.

Campbell was shocked by how negative opinions were toward UberPool, the ride-hail company’s fast growing carpool service. The survey found 56.5 percent of drivers disagreed with the statement that they are satisfied with their UberPool experience. Campbell attributes this to the obfuscating pay structure and hassle of picking up and dropping off multiple riders at a time.

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales/The Verge

Campbell said he didn’t ask about satisfaction around Lyft Line, that company’s carpool service, because it isn’t as busy or reliable as UberPool. “I would say all the same complaints about UberPool are also valid for Line,” he added.

The survey also turned up some troubling statistics about disparities in earnings among gig economy drivers. Women reported earning $14.26 an hour, while their male counterparts reported earning $16.61 an hour. Drivers aged 61 and up reported almost $3 per hour less than the 18–30 category. And African-American drivers for both Uber and Lyft reported earning $13.96 per hour compared to the average reported hourly earnings of $16.08 for all drivers.

These findings echoed a recent study about discrimination at the other end of the ride-hail equation. Researchers from MIT, Stanford, and Washington University found that African-American ride-hail passengers had higher wait times or a higher rate of cancellation than non-African-American customers. Also, female passengers were taken on longer, more expensive routes than male passengers.