Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi was reportedly “stunned” by the fare a reporter paid to travel 2.95 miles to interview him, though he was quick to offer an excuse.
Wired editor-at-large of Steven Levy said he told Khosrowshahi that he paid $51.69 back in May to take an Uber from downtown Manhattan to interview him on the West Side — the fee included the driver’s tip.
“Oh my God. Wow,” Khosrowshahi exclaimed, according to Levy.
He told Khosrowshahi that the price was $20 higher five minutes early and the CEO replied, “Yeah, surge pricing.”
“A surge makes no sense. It’s 10 am on a sunny weekday, and it’s not like the president’s in town,” Levy countered. “I do agree that this is higher than I normally see, but in general, an Uber now costs more. Do you worry that those who adopted the service because of attractive pricing might be rethinking their ridership?”
While the CEO expressed surprise, he tried to fault the effects of inflation for the fee while arguing the higher cost “certainly hasn’t hurt the business.”
“Everything is more expensive. Inflation has become a part of our everyday life,” he said. “With Uber, the vast majority of your fare is going to your driver.”
“Earnings per week for our drivers are up 40, 50 percent over the past four years because that is the cost of time and the cost of labor. I think that’s positive,” the CEO continued. “And we’re seeing audience growth—130 million people come to our platform on a monthly basis. So while prices are higher, people are finding our services more compelling. It certainly hasn’t hurt the business.”
The New Post cited a Forbes report to note that Uber’s prices in the U.S. have increased at four times the rate of inflation from 2018 to 2022, with fares rising a total of 83% over the nearly four years ending in Q3 of 2022.
“In the past, Khosrowshahi has attributed soaring prices to a shortage of drivers during the pandemic, though Uber reached a record-high 5 million drivers in August 2022 — up 31% from the year prior, the company noted in its Q2 2022 earnings report,” the newspaper added.
Even after posting its first profitable quarter — the company recorded a profit of $394 million in the three-month period ending June 30 — CNBC reported that Uber “fell more than 10% Monday, the first trading day after it disappointed investors in the most highly anticipated initial public offering of the year.” Uber stock dropped below $38 per share.
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