How Many Uber and Lyft Drivers Will Lose Their Jobs? All of Them

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Published : November 21st, 2017
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Category : Crisis Watch
Uber will buy 24,000 autonymous Volvo cars in 2019-2021. Nearly every driving job will vanish, faster than most think.

Uber Technologies Inc. agreed to buy 24,000 sport utility vehicles from Volvo Cars to form a fleet of driverless autos, a signal that the company remains committed to autonomous cars under newly appointed Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi.

Uber’s order steps up efforts to replace human drivers, the biggest cost in its on-demand taxi service. The autonomous fleet is small compared with the more than 2 million people who drive for Uber but reflects dedication to the company’s strategy of developing self-driving cars.

“This new agreement puts us on a path toward mass-produced, self-driving vehicles at scale,” Jeff Miller, Uber’s head of auto alliances, told Bloomberg News. “The more people working on the problem, we’ll get there faster and with better, safer, more reliable systems.”

For carmakers, news of Uber buying vehicles at a commercial level means potential new sales, but also looming disruption to a business model that sees autos largely sold to private owners.

Lyft Inc., the main ride-hailing alternative in the U.S., has said it’s also building driverless cars but has mainly focused on partnerships. Among those that have agreed to test autonomous vehicles on Lyft’s platform are Delphi Automotive Plc’s NuTonomy, Ford Motor Co., Jaguar Land Rover and Waymo.

How Many Drivers?

Does Uber really have 2 million drivers?

Ride Share Guy disputes the numbers in How Many Uber Drivers Are There?

It seems like there are more rideshare drivers than ever on the roads these days, so it’s a question many of us wonder – how many Uber and Lyft drivers are out there?

2-3 million drivers seems a little high, since we know that a large percentage of drivers quit Uber every year, or decide to drive for only Lyft. We’ve covered it here on RSG before and Uber themselves have told us that about half of all drivers quit after just one year.

It’s more likely Uber has less than 1.3 million drivers in the US, since one quarter to one half quit after one year. However, this could still mean Uber has nearly 1 million if not one million drivers in the United States.

In early 2017, Lyft started floating that they had 700,000 drivers on the platform, which seems a bit high. But since our survey has shown that ⅔ of all drivers work for both Uber and Lyft it could be that a lot of those Lyft drivers are technically ‘active’ with Lyft but they get a majority of their rides with Uber.

Not every Lyft driver drives for Uber, and not every Uber driver drives for Lyft – but over half of drivers do drive for both. Combined, there are likely 400,000 – 600,000 Uber and Lyft drivers in the US, and that number may be closer to 1 million.

NUmber of Taxi and Limo Drivers

The BLS Occupational Outlook says there were about 305,100 Taxi Drivers, Ride-Hailing Drivers, and Chauffeurs in 2016.

Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers

The BLS Occupational Outlook says that in 2016, there were 1,871,700 Heavy and Tractor-trailer Truck Drivers in 2016.

Total Number of Truck Drivers?

All Trucking says there are 3.5 million professional truck drivers in the United States according to estimates by the American Trucking Association.

"The total number of people employed in the industry, including those in positions that do not entail driving, exceeds 8.7 million. About one of every 15 workers in the country is employed in the trucking business, according to the ATA. These figures indicate that trucking is an exceptionally stable industry that is likely to continue generating jobs in the coming years."

Readers know I dispute that last sentence strongly.

When Will Driving Jobs Vanish?

Long-haul, big-rig trucking jobs will vanish first, within 1-2 years self-driving trucks are allowed on the highways. 2021-2022 is a conservative date range and it may happen sooner.

Limo, taxi, Uber, and Lyft will take a bit longer. I am still looking at 2022-2024 before most of these jobs start to vanish in size.

The rollout will not be as fast as with trucks, but it will still be faster than most think, likely even me. At the current pace of technological advancement, 2022 is a long way away.

Looking ahead, the total number of driving job likely to vanish by 2025 approaches 5 million.

Avis, Hertz, Alamo, Budget, Dollar Gone

Avis, Hertz and all the car rental businesses will either be out of business or out of business as we know it today. Instead, the car rental companies will compete with Waymo, Uber, Lyft, and perhaps even the auto manufacturers.


Self-driving vehicles will reduce accidents. The insurance business will change dramatically, perhaps even vanish by the end of the next decade.

Much depends on how Congress handles liability issues for self-driving cars.

Major Disruption

Self-driving vehicles will be the biggest economic disruption since the internet.

Car ownership itself will come into question, especially in major cities, in a 2024 timeframe if not sooner.

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Mike Shedlock / Mish is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. He writes a global economics blog which has commentary 5-7 times a week. He also writes for the Daily Reckoning, Whiskey & Gunpowder, and has over 80 magazine and book cover credits. Visit
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