In March/April 2020, the world is on hold. Most countries have ordered more or less strict lock-downs, effectively shutting down Ride-hailing.
We asked drivers throughout Germany how they are dealing with COVID-19 and how much money they are effectively making in these challenging times.
Almost 70% of drivers responded, that they are not working during COVID-19 at all.
Of course we also asked for reasons: Foremost, respondents feel it is not worth it. Passenger demand together with all other mobility demand has collapsed as everyone is ordered to stay at home.
More alarming, about half of the drivers answered that their partner company has been closed either temporarily or permanently.
Lastly, drivers also want to contribute to fighting the Corona Virus by supporting the social distancing measures put in place. About one third responded, that they are not working because they want to protect themselves and others from COVID-19.
Out of the drivers that responded to the questionnaire in the Bliq Ride App, about 30% said they were working during the Corona Pandemic.
To maximize earnings, about 80% of respondents are working for multiple ride-hailing platforms. In the German market, Uber and FreeNow are most popular. This is how most drivers decide to drive for both platforms. Only 20% of drivers focus only on one platform.
We asked drivers to share their earnings with Uber and FreeNow for one week in April. During that time, drivers worked 38 and 33 hours in average for the ride-hailing platforms. According to the respondents, earnings on Uber and FreeNow both fell extremely compared to the level before the Corona pandmic.
However, it seems like Uber is outperforming its local competitor FreeNow by quite a bit. While drivers for Uber responded to have earned in average 10.40 EUR per hour, drivers for FreeNow responded to have earned only 4.22 EUR per hour.
As both values don’t account for the costs involved (fuel, car maintenance, insurance etc.), ride-hailing driviers’ real earnings during the COVID-19 pandemia are even lower. In both cases, the reality is, that drivers are currently making only a fraction of the official minimum wage in Germany (9.35 EUR per hour, 2020).
Many restaurants are now forced to close for guests and instead started delivering food. Other delivery jobs are also booming, such as parcel delivery, as people have suddenly a lot of time to shop online.
Even if Rideshare is currently on a never-seen low, chances are good that people are ready to take even more rides as the lockdowns lift. Taking public transit is considered an infection risk by most and passengers will likely prefer individual transport options (such as ride-hailing).