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The future computed: Artificial intelligence and its role in society

This report estimates the net incomes of UberX drivers in six Australian cities, on the basis of public information regarding Uber’s pricing structure, a representative benchmark urban trip, and other parameters (including vehicle expense guidelines in Australia’s tax system). The main findings of these simulations include: UberX services are provided at significantly lower prices than traditional taxi services in all major Australian cities; on average, traditional taxis are about 40 percent more expensive than UberX, based on a representative benchmark trip. Under normal pricing schedules, it is very unlikely that UberX drivers earn net income (after all expenses) equivalent to Australia’s statutory minimum wages for workers in this industry. We estimate the net income of Uber drivers (on average across the six cities considered in the report) under plausible assumptions to be $14.62 per hour. The highest simulated net incomes are generated in Canberra and Sydney (over $18 per hour); the lowest are in Perth (under $11 per hour). The simulated average hourly net income for Uber drivers is well below Australia’s basic statutory minimum wage, of $18.29 per hour. And it equals less than half the statutory minimum payments required under the relevant Modern Award that would apply to waged workers in this sector (taking into account casual loading increments and penalty rates for evening and weekend work).