lyft and uber drivers nyc

How Much Do Uber and Lyft Drivers Make in NYC in 2017?

Last updated on March 21st, 2018 at 09:54 pm

What Do NYC Uber And Lyft drivers Make In 2017?

Although there are some articles claiming that NYC rideshare drivers are making $80,000 – $90,000 per year, that’s usually not the case. If you’re a driver on one of the premium services like Uber Black or Lyft Lux, it’s doable. However, if you’re an efficient driver on UberX or Lyft working 40 hours a week, $50,000 – $55,000 per year is more realistic. If you work more hours, or have an SUV, UberSelect, or Lyft Premier vehicle, you can push that into the 60’s, or even the 70’s. These numbers are gross revenue before expenses like gas and insurance.

lyft and uber drivers nyc

On an hourly basis, you can pull in the range of $23 – $28 per hour driving rideshare in New York City. However, those numbers are for experienced, full-time Uber or Lyft drivers. They tend to know their way around better and are simply more efficient than newer drivers. A driver just starting out in NYC for Lyft or Uber should expect their hourly pay to be more in the $18 – $21 range. After a couple of months of full time driving, that should go up to the higher range. This pattern holds true in most cities. The reason is that even if you’re familiar with a city when you first start driving rideshare, you will be more familiar after a couple of months. You’ll learn which streets move a bit quicker (see traffic and shortcut tips further down), and where the bottlenecks are. This will allow you to do more rides per hour, and increase your earnings.

How To Sign Up To Drive For Uber Or Lyft In NYC

In order to drive for Lyft or Uber in NYC, you’ll need to get a Taxi & Limousine Commission license. Here are the 8 steps to get your TLC license:

  1. Fill out and submit a TLC application.
  2. Upgrade your driver’s license to a Class E or CDL. If your license is from out of state, you’ll need to request a certified abstract from that state.
  3. Get the TLC required medical exam.
  4. Take the TLC defensive driving course.
  5. Take the TLC wheelchair accessible vehicle course.
  6. Pass the TLC 3 day for hire vehicle (FHV) course.
    1. The course costs $175 and the exam at the end is $75.
  7. Complete a drug test at one of 7 TLC approved testing centers.
  8. Get fingerprinted.

Uber offers some of the courses above for free at it’s Greenlight Hub in Long Island City. The Lyft office is just upstairs from the Uber office. if you need help with your TLC application, Uber also lets you make an appointment online at one of their Greenlight Hubs in Long Island City, The Bronx, or Brooklyn.

Lyft Office

31-00 47th Ave, 4th floor
Long Island City, NY 11101

Uber Office

31-00 47th Ave, 1st Floor
Long Island City, NY 11101

Commercial Insurance

In addition to get a TLC license, NYC Uber and Lyft drivers must carry commercial insurance. The monthly cost for liability and collision is usually in the $450 – $700 range. Because of this, if you’re going to use your own car to drive for Uber or Lyft in NYC, it makes more sense if you plan on driving full-time.

However, there are rental options available for rideshare drivers in NYC. Most of these rental options include insurance. See our page on how to get a vehicle for Lyft or Uber for more rental information. You can also go to ubernycmarketplace.com to see vehicles available to rent for rideshare driving in NYC. Many of the places to rent vehicles for rideshare are located near the Lyft and Uber offices in Long Island City.

Is It Worth It To Sign Up For Lyft Or Uber In NYC?

Absolutely. Although the application process is a bigger pain in the butt than in most cities, New York City is one of the highest earning Lyft and Uber markets in the country. There’s very few places where Uber and Lyft drivers can make more per hour than in Manhattan. If you know your way around the island, and you drive the right hours, somewhere around $25 per hour is a pretty reasonable expectation. A lot of full-time drivers earn more than that, especially on the higher priced Uber and Lyft platforms.

However, if you want to drive part-time, it probably makes more sense to rent a vehicle, so you don’t have to deal with the prohibitive commercial insurance costs.

Should I Sign Up For Lyft Or Uber First?

Both Uber and Lyft are very busy in New York City. While you should sign up for both eventually, it makes more sense to sign up for Lyft first. Lyft is still offering a sign up bonus in NYC, while Uber has switched to a guarantee. The Lyft NYC sign up bonus has ranged between $150 and $350 recently and is paid out on a per ride basis. Lyft has also significantly increased their NYC ridership in 2017, which means they’re in need of drivers.

NYC Uber And Lyft Hotspots

Once you get licensed, here’s a few hotspots around Manhattan and some tips for gettings around. These are usually good places to go to find Lyft and Uber riders. In the mornings on weekdays, the upper west side, upper east side, and soho are great places to be. There’s also going to be a lot of people coming into Manhattan from the other boroughs, especially Brooklyn, and Queens. Chelsea Piers is a pretty good midday and weekend spot. Wall Street is great during the evening rush. Midtown and Times Square are consistently busy because of all the tourists. Also, don’t forget about Penn Station, and the other boroughs. Brooklyn tends to favor Lyft a bit, but is busy on both platforms.

A good trick veteran drivers use is to start out early in the morning (by 4:30-5:00am) around the hotels in midtown, or near SoHo. They’re aiming to get an early morning airport run in, and then get back to the city in time for the rest of the morning rush. Drivers who employ this strategy can often earn over $100-$125 by the end of rush hour.

NYC Driving, Traffic, and Shortcuts

Traffic in Manhattan can be rough. Construction and street closures don’t help either. But, you can stay ahead of them by following Gridlock Sam’s Twitter feed. Gridlock Sam is a former NYC traffic commissioner who posts information on road and highway closures throughout the city. He also posts about city events that may affect traffic. Overall, he’s a great resource for rideshare drivers in NYC.

For getting around, you’re going to want to use Google Maps or Waze when you start out. Waze gives better time estimates, but Google Maps has lane assistance, which can be helpful when you’re just starting out. While you should generally take the navigation route, here’s a few tips for getting around Manhattan. If you’re halfway between the FDR and the West Side Highway and the passenger is going downtown, remember that FDR has no lights and will be a slightly longer route (higher fare). It will also likely be faster, but check the traffic. If you’re far enough north, 110th is a quick way from the East side to the West side and vice versa. Going uptown from 14th street or above, 1st avenue can be a great friend. Likewise, on the other side of the island, become familiar with 9th and 10th avenues. And of course, unless you have to, avoid going through the park during rush hour, especially on 72nd.

Here's some rideshare driver resources you may find helpful.

If you would like more information about signing up to drive for Lyft, be sure to check out our Lyft Driver Sign Up Bonus page. For Uber, go to our Uber Driver Sign Up Bonus page. Want to drive rideshare, but don't have a car? Visit our Vehicle Financing guide, which contains information on how to buy, rent or lease a car for Lyft or Uber. If you're considering purchasing rideshare insurance (highly recommended if you're going to drive rideshare), visit our Rideshare Insurance State Marketplace.

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