Uber & Lyft drivers react to study claiming they make minimum wage

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) - Las Vegas Uber and Lyft drivers have differing reactions to a new national study claiming rideshare drivers make minimum wage or lower.

The MIT study found that on average, rideshare drivers made around $3.37 per hour, and 74 percent earned less than minimum wage.

Drivers in Las Vegas had mixed reaction to that. Nicole Belkin, a culinary student who drives for Uber and Lyft, says she wasn't entirely surprised.

She says she usually earns around $800 per month using both apps part-time.  But she then has to factor in insurance, a $300 car payment, and filling up with gas sometimes every other day.

"Long-term, it definitely doesn't pay," she says.  Belkin says she enjoys the freedom to be her own boss and make extra money while still in school but doesn't believe ride-sharing could be a full-time job.

But another driver, Dave Carpenter, disagrees. He's been driving with Uber ever since they started in Las Vegas.

He says he routinely makes more than $50,000 a year and says he's never made less than $25 an hour.

Carpenter is retired but says the trick is maximizing his time driving for Uber.

He says especially in a 24-hour tourism town like Las Vegas, "it's like picking money off a tree." 

He says the trick is knowing the city and traffic, and timing where you are to strategically get the most rides, especially focusing on times when tourists are heading to the pools, casinos, or the airport.

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