ST. GEORGE — According to a recent study, Washington County is among the top growing markets in the nation for rideshare services like Uber and Lyft. Washington is among three Utah counties that have increased both in the number of rideshare drivers hiring on to rideshare services and the amount of revenue flowing into local government coffers.
The study, conducted by FinanceBuzz, noted that of the top 25 hottest markets in the U.S. for rideshare drivers, Washington County ranks ninth. The area has seen the number of drivers increase by 100% and revenue generated by 163.7%. Weber County ranked sixth, increasing its rideshare workforce by 117.7% with a revenue increase of 123.6%. Utah County came in at 13, increasing drivers by 93.5% and revenues by 98%.
Aly Russo, FinanceBuzz outreach specialist said it’s a matter of supply and demand with a growth in population, jobs (primarily in technology) and the lack of public transportation as prime factors for the increases.
Russo said more than 40,000 total new jobs were added in Utah between 2016-17.
“To put it simply, there are more people who need to get to more places,” Russo said. “Having a service like Uber where you can order a ride through an app on your phone is really what makes it such a high-demand service.”
According to the latest data, Uber is in 63 countries making 14 million trips each day. Uber has more than 22,000 employees worldwide.
Population growth was one of the biggest factors affecting the market for rideshare drivers, Russo said.
The United States Census Bureau ranks St. George as the third fastest-growing city in the nation just behind Midland, Texas and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Dropping from the number one spot in 2018, St. George’s metro area posted a 3.5 percent increase, adding about 6,000 new residents last year for an estimated 2018 population of 171,700 people.
Rapid growth often has a direct impact on public transportation. While SunTran in St. George offers six routes that cover a majority of the city, the latest the buses run is 8:29 p.m.
“If you are at the office late, or want to go out for dinner, during a later time is when rideshares get utilized the most,” Russo said.
The final factor that was analyzed in the FinanceBuzz report was new businesses.
In April, WalletHub ranked St. George as the second-best small city for starting a business. The city is also ranked in the top 10 for favorable business environments, scoring well in several metrics including average commute time, the average length of workweek and industry variety.
Finally, the city ranked in the top 100 for business costs that included office-space affordability, labor costs and the cost of living.
While working as a rideshare driver does have its benefits that include flexible workdays and hours there are potential drawbacks that includes wear and tear on your vehicle, the need for additional car insurance, safety concerns and no guaranteed income.
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