December 15, 2019

Uber Posts $5.2 Billion Loss and Slowest Ever Growth Rate

Mr. Khosrowshahi said Uber, which had been competing with Lyft by offering heavily discounted rides to lure riders, has seen that price war subside.

“The competitive environment, which got worse in the second half of last year, is progressively improving now,” he said.

Although Uber has relaxed its discounts for rides, the food delivery business is still highly competitive and the company plans to invest more aggressively in that area, he said. Uber’s food delivery business, Uber Eats, more than doubled its number of monthly customers in the quarter.

Uber, which aspires to become an Amazon-like store for all forms of transportation, is also investing in the development of autonomous cars, public transit deals, the expansion of its bicycle and scooter business, and in its freight delivery platform. The company plans to roll out more options for shared rides, such as its car-pooling and public transit features.

The employment status of ride-hailing drivers remains an issue for Uber, which classifies them as independent contractors, saying the work is flexible. The categorization also means that Uber does not need to provide drivers with full-time benefits. Yet regulators in New York have set a minimum wage for ride-hailing drivers and California legislators are considering a bill that could reclassify drivers as employees.

Mr. Khosrowshahi characterized the changes in New York as “malarkey” and said that increased driver wages were passed on to riders, which makes the service unaffordable for lower-income passengers. In California, Uber is negotiating with lawmakers over the proposed legislation, he said.

“We do believe there can be a win-win scenario here,” he said.

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