How efficiency benefits riders and partners

Uber’s model is designed around efficiency. Unlike some other private hire operators, where dispatch managers take customer bookings and assign jobs based on anything from a driver’s location and availability to more subjective reasons such as how big they feel the job is, Uber has always sent a trip request to the closest available partner.

It’s fairer for the partner as there’s no favouritism or preferential treatment, it’s better for riders who can be picked up more quickly and it’s better for London, with fewer miles spent driving to pick up points meaning fewer emissions and less unnecessary congestion on our roads.

At Uber, more partners = faster pick ups for riders = less time driving empty

More partners working on the Uber platform means better coverage across London and lower waiting times for riders.

Since uberX launched in London in July 2013, average pick-up times – the time between requesting and your car arriving – have reduced from 6 and a half minutes to just over 3 minutes. This is great news for riders who can get a reliable ride more quickly – and great news for partners, who spend less time driving empty to their rider’s pick up point.

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*data compares July 2013, 2014 and 2015

Faster pick ups lead to happier riders, who tell their friends. Indeed, hundreds of thousands of riders using Uber in London were referred by a friend, growing the number of potential customers for partners working on the platform and increasing demand for their service.

More demand = more trips = more time with a rider in the car = more efficient use of partners’ time

More riders leads to more demand, more trip requests for partners and the opportunity to make more money for every hour spent on the road.

Back in 2013, when uberX launched in London, partners had a passenger in their car for 16 minutes of every hour. Now that number has more than doubled to 34 minutes. That means there’s a paying customer in the car more of the time, which is a more efficient use of partners’ time.

Driving in London

Last month (October 2015), uberX partners in London were receiving average payments of £16 per hour, after Uber’s service fee.

Obviously, no two partners are the same and both costs and payments can vary based on when and where they choose to work, the vehicle they choose to drive, how long they spend on the road and a variety of other factors.

We spoke to three partners – one renting, one owning and one financing – about the costs of running their vehicle and why each option works for them. They all have different schedules and work at different times of the day and in different parts of London.


“I own my car outright but insurance, petrol and maintenance costs mean I’m spending about £140 per week running it. I take home about £700 at the end of a 45 hour week, meaning I’m making just over £12 per hour in profit. 

“I definitely saw my costs come down when I started owning. I’m making more at the end of the week and I’ve been able to reduce the hours I spend on the road. My priority now is doing the school run!”

uberX Partner since April 2015, working around 45 hours per week and owning his car.


“I make about £900 per week after Uber’s service fee. Paying about £110 for my car and insurance and £90 for petrol per week – plus £13 per week getting my car washed every other day – means I’m making just over £12/hour for a 55 hour week. 

“My schedule changes a lot from week to week – I like the flexibility Uber gives me and my family.”

uberX Partner since June 2015, working around 55 hours per week and financing his car.


“I rent my Prius for £170 per week. Plus insurance and petrol, I’m paying in total £354 per week. On a normal week, I’d say roughly £950 hits my bank account for about 50 hours’ work, meaning I’m making about £11 per hour after all my costs.

“Renting works for me right now but in the future, I’d like to buy a bigger car and drive with uberXL.”

uberX Partner since June 2015, working 50 hours per week and renting his car.


By designing Uber’s model around efficiency, fares can be around 30% cheaper than the competition for riders, while ensuring that working with Uber remains an attractive proposition for partner-drivers, both in terms of the flexibility around when and where they work and how much they can take home for every hour spent on the road.

We’re proud that driving on the Uber platform enables partners to not only be their own bosses, setting their own schedules and their own targets, but also to receive competitive hourly payments. This is why our growth is largely driven by our current partners referring their friends and family to the Uber platform.

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