This money is going up, up, and away.

My first day in the Big Apple.

John Michael
Mar 13, 2016 · 3 min read

Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Queens….. and Manhattan. Driving throughout the Empire State is not exactly as hard as it may seem. The biggest difference from my experience is learning which roads are toll roads or not.

But is it monetarily worthwhile?

Let’s run some numbers through……..

Getting into NY from my comfortable abode in the Garden State will cost $18 in tolls each time no matter which way I take (e.g., GWB, Lincoln Tunnel, Holland Tunnel).

That’s $108 per week, pending I stick to a six day per week work schedule. Add to that the $399 per week that I owe to Fast Track Leasing, LLC for the 2013 Hyundai Sonata that I rent with TLC plates.

Mathematically, I’m looking at $560 per week in unavoidable expenses when factoring in a conservative $54 budgeted towards filling up the gas tank.

Uber claims that the average UberX driver in New York makes $1400 per week (although they neglected to inform us inquisitive Independent Contractors that this figure is calculated from drivers working 50–60+ hours per week) in their informative “Next Steps” webinar(s).

Realistically, UberX drivers in New York city make an average of $30/hr according to a recent study regarding marketing analytics of the company’s drivers nationwide.

On paper, that’s almost like living the American Dream except it may make more sense to keep driving UberX in New Jersey with a guaranteed rate of $20/hr without the overhead ($15/hr during off-peak hours).

Allow me to break it down even more. 30 hours/ week doing UberX in New Jersey is approximately netting me $450 — $550 with the incentive bonuses. The same amount of time spent driving in New York, on average, would be $900 — $399 = $501 per week.

Factoring in tolls, tips, and distance commuting to and from NY state borders, it’s equal to the earnings of other UberX drivers in the Garden State at best.

So how does one make money doing it?

Of course driving UberX in the city means all five boroughs of New York. Jersey City, Hoboken, and Newark are also potential hotspots for those long lucrative trips (e.g., customers returning to home or leaving for an out-of-state trip).

Newark police and the Port Authority seem to have realized they can break off a piece of the ride sharing pie by ticketing UberX drivers picking up at EWR. Drivers are required to have special license plates, commercial and liability insurance, etc.; however, the police are ticketing drivers in spite of playing by the rules because the company (i.e., Uber) pays all court fines/fees.

It’s a hot mess. If you can, hurdle the initial deposit to get into a (almost) brand new rental or lease through one of Uber’s affiliate companies. It’s a big world out there, and driving strictly in New Jersey is like staying in your room all day when you have the whole house to yourself.

Becoming a for-hire TLC driver in New York is nothing new. Figure out how to get it done so you can join the hundreds of thousands of individuals who have taken these same steps before. Or not.

Basically, it’s just the same in either case: you just wouldn’t have access to millions of Uber customers that live in New York.

I hear they make good pizza in Jersey.

John Michael

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Driver, Hustler, Millenial, Aspiring blogger