How much do San Francisco Uber drivers make?

Posted by: RideGuru Team Mar 11, 2018
Updated Jan 16, 2020


How much can you earn driving for Uber in San Francisco? Do you make more money driving with Lyft or Uber?

As one of the most expensive (if not THE most expensive) cities in the United States, San Francisco can be a difficult place for locals to make ends meet. Driving for a rideshare company such as Uber can be an easy way to earn some extra cash to pay the bills, but how much do you really make driving for a rideshare company in San Francisco?

Our RideGuru Fare Calculator, not only calculates the cost of rideshare rides, it also calculates how much you can make on any given route. We decided to run a little test in San Francisco and see how much you can expect to make as a rideshare driver and which rideshare company pays out the highest per ride amount.

To start our test we entered in a standard SF route, the University of San Francisco to Lombard Street. This ride is approx. 3 miles and 14 minutes. We decided to compare Lyft, Uber, Sitbaq, and the standard yellow cab. Keep in mind that this comparison is between only the standard ride services (UberX, Lyft, and Sitbaq Basic) this does not include comparisons between specialty services like Uber Black or Lyft Plus. For an interesting look into what you could make driving for a specialty service like Uber Select, check out this post by The Rideshare Guy.

Take a look at the results.


Driver Earnings

Ride Cost for Passenger










Lyft drivers make more than Uber drivers but Sitbaq actually beats out both of them! For fun we also put in what you would make as an official taxi driver and not so surprisingly, taxi drivers make more but the rider also pays a lot more for the fare.

Next we wanted to see how much you could make per hour with each service. To estimate this, we multiplied each 14 minute payout by 3 to equal 42 minutes of drive time and 18 minutes of down time (we estimate downtime is around 15-25 minutes per hour). When multiplied you get an "hourly" payout of $19.89 for Uber, $23.97 for Lyft, $25.89 for Sitbaq, and $36.03 for Taxi.

While these numbers look great, please keep in mind the amount of downtime you may experience varies between services. Uber tends to have the least amount of downtime out of the 3 rideshare companies as they have the most users, so while they have the lowest payout per ride you may still make more by driving for Uber.

It is also important to keep in mind that we completed this test without any surge pricing at play. Both Uber and Lyft do have surge pricing and if you play your cards right and drive popular routes during peak times you could make significantly more money than what is stated above. In fact, this Uber driver on Quora states he can make between $40-60 per hour when surge pricing is at play! Sitbaq at this time does not have surge pricing.

Finally, we do feel it is important to note that there are a lot of hidden expenses when you drive for a rideshare company. At the end of the day you will have to factor in gas, car insurance, car maintenance, and taxes.

Comment below on if you think it is worth it to be a rideshare driver? Drivers, after all expenses are paid how much do you actually make per hour?

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