Uber is bouncing back from the pandemic faster than Lyft

Lyft will need to spend more to lure back drivers.

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Kris Holt
May 4, 2022 2:48 PM
A sign marks a rendezvous location for Lyft and Uber users at San Diego State University in San Diego, California, U.S., May 13, 2020.      REUTERS/Mike Blake
Mike Blake / reuters

Uber had a successful first quarter of 2022 by some measures, as it more than doubled its revenue year-over-year to $6.85 billion. Increased demand for rides following the Omicron surge played a role, as did higher ride prices due to a shortage of drivers.

The company reported that riders took 1.71 billion trips last quarter, an increase of 18 percent from the first three months of 2021. Gross bookings (the total amount Uber receives from customers) for rides increased by 58 percent year over year to $10.7 billion. Delivery gross bookings rose by 12 percent to $13.9 billion. Uber's revenue from rides was $2.52 billion. From deliveries, it earned $2.51 billion in revenue.

However, Uber's net loss increased from $108 million in Q1 2021 to $5.93 billion last quarter. That's largely due to its equity investments in Didi, Grab Holdings and Aurora Innovation. Still, Uber believes it will be cash-flow positive on a full-year basis for 2022.

Growth is expected to continue this quarter. Uber claims the value of rides booked in April surpassed 2019 levels, for one thing. The company also noted that rider wait times and surge trips were at their best levels for a year.

Uber says that many drivers have opted to move over to Eats deliveries. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the company won't have to make "significant incremental incentive investments” to keep drivers on the platform and persuade new and lapsed drivers to get behind the wheel. The same can't be said for rival Lyft.

That company expects it will need to spend more to entice drivers to return or join its platform. It's taking longer than expected for its driver base to return to pre-pandemic levels, Lyft president John Zimmer told Reuters. Uber has a leg up on Lyft in this regard, since its drivers can choose to deliver food and other items instead of ferrying passengers around. However, Lyft didn't provide more details of how much it will spend on driver incentives.

Lyft earned revenue of $875.6 million for the first quarter, a year-over-year increase of 44 percent. It had a net loss of $196.9 million, down significantly from the $427.3 million net loss it posted a year earlier. Its active number of riders rose to 17.8 million from 13.5 million in Q1 2021.

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