Some Uber Drivers Sleep In Their Cars So They Can Work In Expensive Cities

If you want to be successful at driving for Uber, Lyft or some similar service, it’s important to not only put in a lot of hours behind the wheel, but to do so in a city where you’re likely to also have a passenger in the backseat. Problem is, dense urban areas where residents have disposable income may be out of your price range. Some drivers are getting around this by spending their brief downtime sleeping in their cars.

Bloomberg Technology talked to one Uber driver who commutes from Sacramento to San Francisco, about 90 miles, and then gathers with other drivers with similar commutes to sleep in the parking lot of a Safeway. He puts in a 70-hour week, then goes home to his wife, kids, and actual bed.

Another driver lives alone in Indiana, but sleeps in his car in the parking lot of a Chicago 7-Eleven. He started putting in more hours when he leased a newer car from Uber. When he began driving, he made around $40 an hour, but regular fare drops mean that he has to sleep in his car to make his lease payments so he can have a car to work.

READ MORE: 5 Things You Should Know About Uber’s Xchange Leasing Program & Its Costs

Last week’s settlement between Uber and the Federal Trade Commission would surely sound familiar to that driver: the transportation network company settled charges that it advertised hourly pay rates in different cities that were technically possible, but that only 10% of drivers are able to achieve.

Not all drivers bed down in their cars. Some stay in hostels, which offer the benefits of an actual bed and a shower. A clerk at a Travelodge motel near San Francisco’s airport estimated that drivers comprise about one-third of the guests.

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