Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

As it fights for an upcoming ballot measure to exempt it from a California law that could force it to classify drivers as employees, Uber argues that not only are "full-time" drivers a small minority of its total drivers, but also that they are responsible for just a quarter of all trips in the state.

Why it matters: If that ballot measure, known as Proposition 22, fails in November, ride-hailing and delivery companies will be forced to reclassify their drivers as employees.

What they're saying: "In the fourth quarter of 2019... the 9% of 'full-time' California drivers who averaged at least 40 hours online on Uber completed just 25% of trips.... the 74% of drivers who are online an average of 25 hours or less are responsible for a far higher amount of work using the app, doing 42% of trips.," Uber senior economist Libby Mishkin writes in a blog post.

  • Uber also claims that this trend is even more pronounced outside of major cities.
  • In San Francisco and Los Angeles, 11% of drivers work at least 40 hours per week on average, completing 27% of all trips. In Sacramento, only 3% of drivers work full-time, and they account for only 11% of trips.

Yes, but: Uber's data is based on all hours spent with the app turned on, including while a driver is waiting idle to get a new ride request, and while driving to and from a ride.

  • However, drivers are only paid while they're giving a ride, so they often spend more time online than they do earning money.

Uber's data also shows that roughly 58% of rides are by drivers who are online at least 25 hours a week (including those driving over 40 hours).

  • A spokesman tells Axios that "25 hours would be the equivalent to part time work which under our current employment system does not generally translate to the benefits of full time employees." However, some of these drivers might be working for other gig economy services for additional earnings.

The bottom line: This fight is coming down to the wire for Uber and its peers, who recently contributed an additional $70 million to their ballot campaign. The campaign donated $2 million to California's GOP.

Go deeper: Uber, Lyft win delay on court order forcing driver reclassification

Go deeper

Oct 23, 2020 - Economy & Business

We're all guinea pigs for Tesla's latest self-driving tech

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tesla is beta-testing its latest self-driving technology with a small group of early adopters, a move that alarms experts and makes every road user — including other motorists, pedestrians and cyclists — unwitting subjects in its ongoing safety experiment.

Why it matters: Tesla hailed the limited rollout of its "full self-driving" beta software as a key milestone, but the warnings on the car's touchscreen underscore the risk in using its own customers — rather than trained safety drivers — to validate the technology.

Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus

Marc Short with Katie Miller, Vice President Pence's communications director, in March. Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times via Reuters

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force.

Updated 24 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: COVID-19 looms over White House Halloween celebrations
  2. Health: Fauci says maybe we should mandate masks if people don't wear them — America was sick well before it ever got COVID-19
  3. World: Polish President Andrzej Duda tests positive for COVID-19.

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