Air travelers wait for a lift near a sign for Uber at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on August 20, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
Mario Tama | Getty Images
Uber posted record gross bookings on Monday in March, signaling a pickup in demand for its hail shipping business.
The tech giant’s mobility unit was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic last year, as lockdown restrictions led to a collapse in demand for carpooling. However, a boom in food delivery helped limit losses in 2020.
Uber said its mobility segment, or ride-hail business, had its best month since March 2020, with an annualized execution rate of $ 30 billion. That was 9% more than a month ago. The delivery unit hit a record run rate of $ 52 billion per year in March, more than doubling year over year.
“As vaccination rates rise in the US, we are finding that consumer demand for mobility is recovering faster than driver availability, and consumer demand for delivery continues to exceed courier availability,” Uber said in a press release with Securities and Exchange Commission.
Uber’s shares rose more than 2% in US premarket trading.
Uber last week announced plans to spend $ 250 million on a one-time “stimulus” package to get drivers back on the road. The money goes into driver bonuses, guaranteed pay, and getting new drivers on board. The plan comes when states start lifting some of their pandemic restrictions and introducing vaccines.
Uber lost nearly $ 6.8 billion in the past year, and there have long been doubts as to whether Uber’s business model will work. However, the company expects it can still be profitable on an adjusted EBITDA basis through the end of 2021. Lyft, Uber’s main US competitor, has made a similar commitment.
Last month, Uber classified all 70,000 of its UK drivers as workers eligible for minimum wages and other employment protection after the country’s Supreme Court ruled that a group of Uber drivers should be classified as workers rather than independent contractors . The move is likely to result in higher costs for Uber and could have far-reaching implications for the gig economy.