According to recent reports, the rideshare business is picking up again as states begin to re-open. Could the worst be over for Uber, Lyft – and drivers?
Below, we’ll outline the announcements from Lyft and Uber, how drivers out there are staying safe, and how current drivers are making money.
Lyft Announces Promising Numbers
Goldman: “Rideshare rides increased week over week for 7 consecutive weeks.” pic.twitter.com/BVh0TYvDmN
— Reilly Brennan (@reillybrennan) June 3, 2020
According to a regulatory filing released June 2, Lyft announced:
“Rides on the platform increased 26% in May compared with April, a month that saw few state reopenings.”
The tweet above gives more context specifically for particular cities, like Denver, Seattle and New York City. In addition, the tweet notes riders are taking more weekday rides, signaling a potential return to regular workday hours (and more people are returning to work).
However, Lyft also acknowledged rides are down 70% compared to a year ago. This data can be useful to drivers since you can take advantage of increasing demand before supply (drivers) increases.
Concurrently, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi also noted a gradual increase in trip requests throughout May as lockdown restrictions eased.
Most notably, Khosrowshahi revealed “Hong Kong has already recovered over 80% since its ‘coronavirus-driven lows’ while the company’s ride business is recovering week-over-week”, which could signal continued growth in the US as states rebound from the coronavirus.
Most of us aren’t driving in Hong Kong, but if you’re in a market that is opening up faster, it would make sense that ride volume picks up too.
There’s cautious optimism that things are improving, both in demand for rideshare and in supply.
Staying Safe While Driving
Our RSG survey on the coronavirus says about 40% of drivers are still out there picking up passengers, although since then, chances are that number has grown as more states open up.
One driver shared their cleaning/disinfectant strategy, which riders appreciate:
“I posted 3 signs for passengers to notify them that I am using disinfectant before and after all passengers to clean any surfaces that previous passengers may have touched. I also inform passengers that there are containers of disinfectant wipes under the front and rear of the front passenger seat if they would like to wipe anything or they can take a wipe with them for future use. Many positive comments from passengers.”
Others shared tips on ventilation and how they handle trips to the airport:
“I keep constantly ventilation in my car opening a little the front window, I always spray Lysol 99.9% germ killer after finishing a trip when the rider is outside from my car; sanitized with gel my hands constantly, specifically if I have to touch luggage at the airport, which I’m trying to avoid more at this special time. Thank God I’m in great health condition.”
We also interviewed four drivers still out there driving, and while a few of them said they received sanitizing equipment (like wipes) from Uber and Lyft, all of them recommended purchasing your equipment like:
- Hand sanitizer
- Wipes and paper towels
Some drivers have even gone so far as to consider putting in the following cough and sneeze guards in their cars:
Getting Out There and Driving
If you’ve asked yourself the following questions about getting out there and driving, and decided driving is for you, this could be a very lucrative time for you.
When we surveyed and interviewed drivers in early May, more than half of them said earnings were either normal or higher than pre-COVID times. Now that another month has passed and more states are exiting lockdown restrictions, we’ve heard from drivers surprised by how much they are earning.
This is mainly because fewer drivers are on the road, and because demand is rebounding. As Uber and Lyft noted above, demand is still overall down, but is steadily increasing.
We recently interviewed a Lyft driver in Phoenix who stated as much: he paid attention to driver groups, saw that fewer drivers were out, and decided to drive as much as he could. Because his state opened sooner than some, and because demand was growing, he shared screenshots with us showing earnings of over $4,000 a week.
Is it Too Soon to Celebrate?
On Lyft and Uber’s announcements, stocks for both were up – all of these positive signs for Uber and Lyft rebounding in mid-2020.
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But is it too soon to celebrate this good news?
On one hand, there could be reasons to fear another downturn in rideshare demand. According to epidemiologists and public health specialists, a ‘slow burn’ of infection from coronavirus could occur through the summer and lead to a massive resurgence this fall.
As reported by CNBC, “Top U.S. health officials, including White House adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, have repeatedly warned that the fall could present a massive challenge to the U.S. as the coronavirus potentially resurges just as flu season hits health systems.”
On the other hand, it’s clear demand right now is there. In addition, there are precautions you can take as a driver (like wearing a mask, keeping your windows down as much as possible, and disinfecting your vehicle regularly).
If you are interested in getting back on the road, this news from Uber and Lyft (plus your fellow rideshare drivers’ input) could help you decide whether or not it’s worth it.
Let us know – are you driving for Uber and Lyft or are you considering it?
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-Melissa @ RSG