Time For A Career Shift? New York City UberX Drivers Can Earn $90,766 A Year

In San Francisco, a similar workload can bring in about $74,191.

How much does an UberX driver make compared to a regular cabbie?

The Washington Post reports that while a yellow taxi driver might earn something close to $30,000 a year (well below the U.S. household income average), an UberX driver working a 40-hour week in New York City makes about $90,766 a year. (That, incidentally, is almost enough to buy this 1998 Lincoln limousine.) In San Francisco, a similar workload brings in about $74,191.

"New people are flocking to Uber in part due to the money that they can make and due to the flexibility you have, basically being able to decide when you want and where you want to work," Rachel Holt, Uber’s regional general manager, told the Post.

Another aspect of all this has to do with the traditional taxi industry's steep initial investment. The price of a medallion in New York City—the permit that allows cabbies to legally cart people up off the street—has been rising at an exorbitant rate since the 1970s due, at least in part, to inflation. (Chart courtesy of Reuters.)

New York imposes strict limits on the amount of medallions it gives out (which, let's remember, are required for for all legal cab operators). Just over 13,600 medallions are currently in circulation.

While the last batch of medallions auctioned off at the end of February went for as much as $965,000, UberX, the service's cheaper, ride-share service, doesn't require them. All you need to do to become an UberX driver is to pass a (rather strict) background check; a 30-minute online training session; and proof of a driver's license, registration, and insurance. While Uber has a separate arm, UberTaxi, that caters to licensed cabbies, its primary strategy of targeting the less regulated radio-dispatch ride-providers was intentional.

Now before you quit your desk job and commit to a life shuttling along intoxicated millennials, New York is a unique case in that it is densely populated, which has allowed the ride-giving economy to flourish.

In fact, some view the high prices that taxi medallions still fetch as proof that the existing industry can happily coexist with Uber—at least for the time being. "The taxi business is as strong as it’s ever been," said Andrew Murstein of Medallion Financial (a company that helps the taxi biz broker deals) back in February, "despite Uber, because people in major cities will still go and stick their hands in the air."

[Image: Flickr user Justin Maalihan]

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  • "...glorify theft and tax-evasion." The sharing economy is up and coming if you haven't been able to tell, and it's because these peer-to-peer services are cheaper. If I want to give a ride to someone I should be able to. If I'd like that person to financially contribute to me giving them a ride that should be allowed also. No there isn't the same insurance requirements, medallion system, but the user is aware of these and assumes a portion of the risk. Uber, Lyft, Airbnb (room-sharing, but similar enough issues) all provide a platform to allow this type of sharing, and it's obviously what the consumer is demanding considering the popularity of these options. The pricing model is based on demand. I think that more industries need to be aware of this potential disruption to their business model. Maybe municipalities should have realized that charging exorbitant fees for their corporate taxi medallions would attract alternatives for cheaper fares.

  • Samuel Roby

    "amazing uberX"? Self-promotions on this article are glaringly obvious. Let's glorify theft and tax-evasion next. Because that's what ride-sharing really is.

  • Samuel Roby

    I guess ride-sharing is a proof that crime pays. Take note everyone. Do as ride-sharing operators do - evade taxes, skip on regulations claiming not to be in a transportation business (absurd, right? yet, they claim that in courts), ignore multiple court orders because "because GPS", have random unpredictable and totally manipulated pricing model, pay absolutely nothing for business licensure to operate (this was city revenue,, by the way), buy insurance to get clearance and then downgrade the next day to absolute minimum possible - saves money and no one is checking on you - "win-win", have one ride-sharing account shared across friends and family members - heck, give it to a friend - laws don't apply to ride-sharing fraud, inspections? these are for suckers. The list of ride-sharing violation and abuses is long. But authorities have turned a blind eye to this crime. Someone must be getting a lot of $$$$ to NOT see ride-sharing abuses.

  • Kool Joe Kutta

    I am also a driver.. People love the service and its fun.. They are also always giving bonuses and incentives. I can refer anybody interested and you can get a signing bonus to start driving. Email me at jharvey(at)cityincite.org and I will send you link.

  • Definitely the way to go. I've used it in Boston and Charlotte. Use my Uber code, j3eun, and get $10 off your first Uber ride. Redeem it at uber.com/invite/j3eun.

  • Farok Atik

    hey guys . I Took a ride. Now I drive. Love it. My riders love the app too uberX is awesome very cheap rate and WAY better than cabs . Drivers are always close, super friendly, and really prompt. Service is affordable, as well. Couldn't be happier with uberX, and they really fun . HERE IS A $25 CREDIT CODE : z5ju9h Enter this code z5ju9h In the payment section before you request your FIRST ride and. you will receive a $25 credit towards that ride .. The credit is valid on first ride so use it for a long ride to get the best value. Great community. Never take a taxi again... so its time to enjoy the rides with amazing uberX :)