The income of gig drivers in the Denver area is running well below minimum wage, a survey has found. Two advocacy groups, Colorado Jobs with Justice and Gig Workers Rising, queried hundreds of drivers for such platforms as Lyft, Uber, and DoorDash from last November through January, the Guardian reports. The drivers reported take-home pay that averaged $5.49 an hour after expenses and time on the company's app are taken into account. Denver's minimum wage is $15.87 an hour, and the federal minimum is $7.25. The survey found most of the drivers support at least one other person on that income.
The companies contested the findings. The calculations can be made in various ways, and advocacy groups and researchers in the past have contested the companies' math. Uber said it's found median earnings in Colorado are more than $37 an hour for time drivers spend on the platform. DoorDash said its drivers average $25 an hour while on delivery across all markets. Lyft said that including tips, its drivers make more than $35 an hour overall, per the Guardian.
Respondents expressed other concerns, as well. The increasing costs of vehicle maintenance and fuel are squeezing the drivers, they said. About 20% said they've confronted violence or the threat of it, and a similar share reported facing bias based on their identity. The companies said said they're working on those issues, through policy and technology. Legislative changes are under consideration in some states, and President Biden's administration has proposed making it easier to classify gig workers as employees, which would broaden the benefits and labor protections available to them. "These companies need to be better regulated," one driver said. (Read more gig economy stories.)