Comparing Driver and Rider Fares

Originally posted on April 15, 2023 @ 12:16 PM

Because there are countless and continuous complaints about the fares drivers are being paid, I wanted to do a comparison of my own to see just what the math reveals.  Feel free to do your own calculations to verify mine, if you want. 🙂

First Example

I accepted an Uber Reservation for 5:45 a.m.  Reservations require the driver be online 40 minutes before, and my app was on at 4:50 a.m. Why did two trip requests come in, when the app had me scheduled for that reservation?  Anyway, I ignored the pings and left at 5:15 a.m.  When I arrived it was 5:36 a.m.

Trip Details for Reservation:  

11.7 miles and 17 minutes from Waddell Street going to the Atlanta Airport.

Before looking at the screenshots below of what I earned from this trip, I want to show you the math for that trip IF Uber were still using ‘my rate card’, which was .11 cents a minute and .60 cents a miles.  This is what the driver fare would have been:

11.7 miles x $.60 = $7.02 PLUS 17 minutes x $.11 = $1.87 for a Total of $8.89

Before Upfront Fares for drivers was introduced in 2022 (meaning flat fare amounts with no adjustments), drivers were not paid for the time OR distance to pickup a ride.  

NOW, with Upfront Fares, drivers are paid for time and distance to pickup, so I did these calculations based on the rate card I had in 2022:

Time and Distance to Pickup Rider

14 miles x $.60 = $8.40 PLUS 21 minutes x $.11 = $2.31 for a Total of $10.71

Had this trip NOT been a Reservation, there’s NO way any thinking driver should have taken this because it cost more ($10.71) to go get the rider, than the fare earned ($8.89) once the trip was over!


Prior to Upfront Fares, drivers only knew the time (minutes) and distance (miles) to go pick up a rider.  

We did not find out the rider’s destination UNTIL the rider was in the car, and we started the trip.  The address then appeared and we would know the time (minutes) and distance (miles) to the destination.  

And it wasn’t until the rider left the car, and we completed the trip, that we found out how much we earned on that particular trip.

Since Uber (and later Lyft, in October/November 2022) implemented Upfront Fares, drivers not only know the time and distance to pickup, but also now know the “estimated” time and distance (minutes and miles) of a trip BEFORE accepting a trip, AND the Upfront Fare offered for that trip.  

So, when a driver accepts a trip, whatever the fare offered, is what will be paid (regardless of extra time because of construction, detours, traffic, or any number of other events we have on our roads and highways).

Keep all that in mind as we look at what the total fare would have been under the rate card IF both the pickup and actual trip are added together.

Second Example

Travel to pickup was 17 minutes and trip time was 21 minutes, or 38 minutes total for $19.60

Miles:  $7.02 + $8.40 = $15.42
Minutes: $1.87 + $2.31 = $4.18
$15.42 + $4.18 = $19.60

So, I would have earned a little less than $20/hour on THAT particular Reservation IF the rate card was still in effect.

Third Example

Here are screenshots of the Upfront Fare offered for that Reservation. I earned $24.65.  So, what is that dollar amount based on?  Let’s take a look at the receipt in my app for the fare breakdown:

A Reservation Trip on April 10, 2023
A Reservation Trip on April 10, 2023
A Reservation Trip on April 10, 2023

Notice the actual time and distance of this Reservation (first screenshot).  The middle screenshot shows the amounts of the Fare, Reservation Fee, Service Fee, and Booking Fee (which was canceled out for some unknown reason, but probably because it was included in the Reservation Fee). 

The actual fare without the $17 Reservation Fee is $19.99.  

Compare that to what the total fare would have been under the rate card IF both the pickup and actual trip miles and minutes are added together:  $19.99 – $19.60 = $.39 

Because the mileage was actually 12.3 miles instead of the estimated 11.7 miles, there is a small difference of .6 miles or 36 cents.

In contrast, the next set of screenshots below are from an Uber trip on April 4, 2021.  Notice the actual rate card amounts:

Base is $.79 cents; Distance is $.60/mile, Time is $.11/minute and there was a Surge of $2.75.  None of this information is shown to drivers in 2023, except the Surge amount, if any. 

Drivers used to see what a rider paid, but with Upfront Fares, that information is no longer available to us either.  And the Booking Fee in 2021 was $3.40.  

In 2023, the Booking Fee varies, but is usually $10, and drivers have no idea what that amount is based on. Never mind we never knew what a Service Fee Adjustment meant or was based on.  Sometimes it meant a tip through the app, but not always.

And lastly, the Paid to third-parties amount was $.50 in 2021, and on the Reservation trip above, it is $.58.

2021 Uber Payment Receipt
2021 Uber Payment Receipt
2021 Uber Payment Receipt

My Lyft Rate Card

This screenshot is what my Lyft rate card was before October/November 2022. The 33 second video from my phone is on the right showing upcoming Scheduled Trips (Reservations on Uber) in my app. Go ahead and click the video to see the fares being offered to drivers these days.

Do you find it odd that the fares for any Scheduled trip show a flat fare range, without any mathematical 
context about how those dollars amount are determined?

If you were to take time doing the math using the old rate card, I think you’d be surprised at what you’d discover.

My Lyft Rate Card

The point of showing all of the above is for people to understand that:

  • Drivers are justifiably complaining because Uber and Lyft keep changing how we are paid;
  • There is NO transparency with Upfront Fares for drivers — meaning “the quality of being easy to perceive or detect, as in the transparency of their predatory motives” (Google’s definition and example);
  • Riders are totally unaware that prior to September 2017 (when Upfront Pricing was introduced for riders), what riders paid for a trip and what drivers earned were connected;
  • After altering driver contracts from 80% to 75% to time and distance rates, what a rider pays and a driver earns have NOTHING to do with each other;
  • Upfront Pricing is based on the ESTIMATED time and distance of a trip, and what a rider is WILLING to pay for a trip; and
  • There is a BETTER option available with HERide, as evidenced by the screenshots below and the easy to calculate math.

HERide Driver and Rider Rates

Driver Rate Card
HERide Rates
Rider Rate Card

So, let’s look at what that Uber Reservation would have cost the rider using the HERide rates:

$3.50 for the Base Fare (Uber doesn’t show it anymore; Lyft’s Base charge was $.78)
12.3 miles x $.84 = $10.33 (actual miles, not the estimated 11.7 miles on the Reservation)
17 minutes x $.16 = $2.72
TOTAL $16.55

The amount a HERide customer would have paid for that trip is less than the actual amount the Uber rider paid for that Reservation ($19.99 + Uber’s $17 Reservation Fee, or $36.99)! 

And if the trip hadn’t been a Reservation, then it appears the Uber rider would have only paid $19.99 (based on what math, who knows), which is still more expensive than HERide’s charge to the rider of $16.55.

Lastly, let’s look at what that Uber Reservation would have paid the driver using HERide rates:

12.3 actual miles x $.84 = $10.33 PLUS 17 minutes x $.16 = $2.72 is $13.05 PLUS the Base Fare of $3.50 = $16.55 

80% of $16.55 would have paid the driver: $13.24

20% of $16.55 is HERides’ commission: $3.31  

$13.24 + $3.31 = $16.55


Remember, the actual amount the rider would have paid for that Uber Reservation was $19.99 (what the rider would have paid without Uber’s $17 Reservation Fee).

And this is what a driver would have earned under the rate card we had prior to Upfront Fares for drivers:

12.3 actual miles x $.60 = $7.38 PLUS 17 minutes x $.11 = $1.87 for a Total of $9.25

HERide’s cost to a rider for that trip would have been $16.55 instead of $19.99. And the driver would have earned $13.24 instead of $9.25.

HERide’s Book Later feature is exactly the same as an Uber Reservation or Lyft Scheduled Trip, but doesn’t cost the rider anything extra!  How refreshing!

The real beauty of what HERide has created is that riders can calculate their trip cost BEFORE booking a ride.  This also means riders can (and do) compare the HERide trip cost to Uber’s and Lyft’s ESTIMATED Upfront Pricing.

Clearly, HERide is more transparent about how a trip is calculated (the time and distance rates are the same for both drivers and riders) and it is more cost effective for riders than either of the other two.  

WHEW!  All that math made for a really long post, and doesn’t include the HERide details of a trip’s cost to the rider and pay to the driver.  That information is covered in the post, “HERide Trip Details” which shows my HERide Driver Portal screenshots where you can see the actual breakdown of a trip.  You’re going to love the transparency!

Oh, by the way, did you read about Rideshare Insurance yet? 

Thanks SO much for taking time to visit.

PLEASE freely share this information with your rideshare friends and family!

It’s that simple and would be so appreciated. 

You have NO idea who YOU know that needs this information.

Remember:  YOU Do NOT Need To Be a Rider or Driver to help support the movement for a BETTER rideshare experience. Just share this site with others!

P.S.  I’m fairly certain you found value in the content presented here because it doesn’t exist anywhere else.  It is my personal experience as a rideshare driver in Atlanta since August 2016.  This site was created during Easter 2017 and has found new life since finding HERide.

So, feel free to TIP your rideshare and HERide driver, Anita Johnson.  Every moment not “driving for dollars” results in a lot of time to do any and everything, but no money is made immediately.  Rideshare drivers are out here for the money.  Why else would we drive people from Point A to Point B in the ATL?  🙂

Appreciate Your Support as We ALL Do Better in Rideshare!

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Anita Johnson

An unlikely "full-time" rideshare driver who has safely completed 11,670 Uber trips in Metro Atlanta since August 2016, and 2,828 Lyft trips since 2021. My interest in rideshare driver earnings began due to Uber's 2017 decision to change driver payout from 80%, then 75%, to mileage and minutes rates when riders were given Upfront Pricing. In 2022, Uber came up with Upfront Fares for drivers, which is significantly less than what drivers were earning in 2016. Driving for HERide since September 2022 has been exciting, and a refreshing breath of fresh air that Atlanta needs to know about!