Date: February 17, 2021
Contact: Geoff Vetter (916) 634-9051
[email protected]

New UC Riverside Study: California App-Based Rideshare & Delivery Drivers Earned Over $34 Per Hour On Average

Detailed Analysis Shows California App-Based Driver Preferences, Earnings, and Satisfaction Under Prop 22

A comprehensive new study of app-based rideshare and food delivery drivers’ earnings and sentiment, published by the UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development, shows that California drivers earned, on average, $34.46 per active hour including tips, an increase of 26% since 2019. 

The study provides an in-depth look into California rideshare and delivery drivers’ earnings, driving preferences, and satisfaction with app-based work since the implementation of Proposition 22.

Statewide, the study’s key findings on app-based drivers in California include:

  • From the fourth quarter of 2020 to the third quarter of 2021, there were around 1,370,000 drivers who performed at least one ride or delivery  across the DoorDash, Instacart, Lyft, and Uber platforms in the state of California.
  • Including tips, average driver earnings increased 26%, from $27.34/hour in the third quarter of 2019 to $34.46/hour in the third quarter of 2021. 
    • Excluding tips, earnings increased from $23.45 to $25.17 in the same period.
  • From the fourth quarter of 2020 to the third quarter of 2021, driver earnings totaled $4.3 billion across the platforms in California.   
  • 82 percent of app-based drivers report being satisfied with their work for these platforms.  
  • 75 percent of app-based drivers prefer their status as independent contractors. 
  • 89 percent of drivers said they were interested in app-based work because it affords great flexibility, allowing drivers to work at their convenience, with 79% indicating that being their own boss was very important too. 

“App-based work has made a positive difference in my life,” said Jim Pyatt, a rideshare driver from the Sacramento area. “Since Prop 22 passed, not only do I have the flexibility I need to manage my schedule, but I’ve earned more money. Keeping Prop 22 in place has never been more important because hundreds of thousands of Californians, like me, rely on the flexibility and higher earnings of app-based work.”

The study was conducted independently by UC Riverside economists using anonymized data provided by the four major app-based rideshare and delivery platforms in California — Uber, Lyft, Instacart and DoorDash. The study also analyzed a survey of more than 1,500 California app-based drivers conducted by EMC Research, a public opinion research firm.

The report also details driver earnings across each of the state’s metropolitan statistical areas.

About Protect App-Based Drivers & Services (PADS) Coalition

The Protect App-Based Drivers & Services (PADS) coalition, formerly the Yes on Prop 22 coalition, is continuing to engage to ensure the will of California voters is upheld; to protect access to independent, app-based jobs; and to preserve the availability, affordability, and reliability of on-demand app-based rideshare and delivery services that are essential to Californians and our economy.

Proposition 22 was supported by 59% of California voters, 120,000 drivers, and a diverse coalition of more than 140 groups including social justice, senior, community, business, veterans, and many others.


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