Watch Out of Office on our YouTube Channel

Montreal Exposé Reports Uber Drivers Earn as Little as $4.60 an Hour

On any given evening, after a couple of glasses of wine, talk seems to gravitate towards the issue of Uber.

It’s been the hot topic for months now (and will certainly continue to be in Toronto this weekend), and for those in favour of the mobile app service, the same points are raised time and time again – convenience, customer service, and the all-important price point.

And while it may be a real money saver for passengers, how are these low costs affecting the workers behind the wheel?

Well, according to an experiment conducted by Le Journal de Montreal, the transportation company’s reduced fares have created an income for employees that is “well below the poverty line.”

One of the tabloid’s reporters worked for a week as an UberX driver and was shocked to discover that, unlike the $17-20 average hourly salary that the ride-hailing company have touted, he earned a measly $4.60 per hour.

Although The Journal’s reporter received $13 per hour, after subtracting all expenses, including gas, insurance and vehicle wear, he was looking at a much lowlier sum.

He earned $456.08 gross income after Uber took its 25 per cent share. This was then divided by the 35 hours he worked between Monday and Friday, which was equivalent to $13.

However, once he removed his total spending – which factored in expenditure per kilometer for a Toyota Corolla and the total number of kilometers travelled, his net income quickly shrunk to $161, which translated to a below average $4.60 per hour worked.

Quebec’s minimum wage currently stands at $10.55 per hour, while Canada’s lowest provincial minimum wage is New Brunswick’s $10.30. Which means that if this average hourly rate is to be believed, it’s less than half the country’s lowest base salary.

The CEO of Uber Quebec, Jean-Nicolas Guillemette, admitted that after expenses, it can move closer to a minimum wage. “But if everybody was $4.60 an hour, I do not think we would have a single driver,” he said.

The experiment also detailed how simple it is to become an Uber driver. The process involved downloading documents, a ten minute short course on best times to work and customer service, followed by subsequent mechanical inspection of your car, costing $20.

Perhaps it’s an off-season slump when many of us are hiding under the blankets and cancelling our plans in favour of lazy evenings in front of our laptops, or maybe Uber really is taking all the profits and leaving their drivers with little to show for it.

And since we can’t tip them (without cash), there’s very little we can do to help boost their hourly earnings. But perhaps you’ll think twice about taking a bottled water or charging your phone in your next Uber, because they’re paying for that too. Something they might not be able to afford if these findings are anything to go by.


Notable Life

Canada’s leading online publication for driven young professionals & culture generators.