Last week, a public relations skirmish broke out between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Uber, after researchers at the school’s Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research (CEEPR) released a dismaying study on the subject of ride-sharing drivers’ profits. Across the board, they estimated, after accounting for such business costs as fuel, depreciation, and insurance, Uber and Lyft drivers — independent contractors by definition, and thus granted few of the protections that even the most rudimentary part-time jobs boast — often saw their take-home pay dip well below $4 an hour.
The median profit before taxes earned by ride-hailing drivers at either service is about $3.37, or less than half of the minimum wage in most states, researchers at MIT’s Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research wrote in their newly published working paper, “Economics of Ride-Hailing: Driver Revenue, Expenses and Taxes.”
Culled from interviews conducted with over 1,100 Uber and Lyft drivers, the analysis “provides one of the first detailed estimates of ride-hailing profit,” its authors wrote.
Digital fare meters are electronic devices which are installed in taxicabs and auto rickshaws, which is used to calculate fare on the basis of distance travelled and waiting time. The digital fare meters have ticket receipt printers embedded in them, GPS systems to assist with the location and safety of the travelers. Credit and prepaid card support, Bluetooth support for communication with smartphones and tablets and other electronic devices, USB support. GPS technology has been used in digital taxi meters in order to protect the citizens from overpaying. Initially the digital taxi meters were based on optical transducer but due to the difference in the timer in the measurement controller and the module the reading were inaccurate, and the taxi owners chose longer roots to fake the digital fare meter readings. With the digital meter the customers can get benefits of a printed copy and SMS notifications.
The digital fare meter has three basic functions which are “for hire”, “Hired” and “stopped”. The digital fare meters have built-in real time clock for automatic transitions from day fare to night fare, as the fare prices change from day fare to night fare.
Alipay and WeChat Pay, China’s two dominant mobile payment platforms, are ratcheting up their expansion plans through separate initiatives that will allow more taxis outside the mainland to accept digital payments, especially in the US.