I continue to drive for Uber, mostly because I went all-in by purchasing another car and am now stuck with it. It will be interesting to see whether I earn any real income doing this, or if my pay is simply a cashing-out on the depreciation for my car. If my driving really costs what the IRS says, then I absolutely will NOT report any income from driving for Uber.
The problem with Uber is the unpaid miles between trips. It's not that I am driving around aimlessly. Usually I will drop off a passenger and immediately find a shady area to park the car. The majority of the unpaid miles are incurred after I have accepted a "ping" and am driving to my passenger's pickup spot. For example, in the late afternoons in Pinellas County there are fewer Uber drivers on the roads, which means I have more requests from further away. I've been taking a break in the afternoons and turning the app back on between 3-5 PM. Today, my first pickup was at Largo Mall, 5 miles from my house. The passengers were going to their home two miles away. I drove 7 miles, but was only paid for 2. As I was leaving, another passenger requested a ride. She was 4 miles away. Her destination: .63 miles away. I received the $4 minimum fare, which was only $2.40 after Uber took its cut. Basically a 5 mile drive for $2.40. My next fare was 6 miles away, and after driving halfway in rush-hour traffic, the rider canceled the request. Since I live in the most densely populated county in the third highest populated state in the U.S., I have to believe my situation is reflective of Uber drivers everywhere.
Now I have to decide whether I should curtail my hours to peak periods only. For a few hours each morning, and most of the day Friday and Saturday, I receive continuous ride requests and can maximize my paid miles. If I really am losing money with these unpaid miles, I will have to focus only on periods of high demand.