Uber is still getting hammered by COVID, though things are looking slightly better

Uber plans to require its drivers and passengers in the US to put on face coverings

Uber is still getting pummeled by COVID-19, as the raging pandemic continues to drag the company’s ride-hailing business down. Uber lost $1.1 billion over the last three months, with its adjusted net revenues down 20 percent compared to the third quarter of 2019.

Gross bookings in its ride-hailing division, or the amount of money it takes in before paying drivers, fell 50 percent year over year. It’s grim position, but also a steady improvement over the second quarter, in which Uber’s ride-hailing business was down 73 percent year over year. Still there was no mistaking the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the company’s core transportation business. Uber brought in $2.8 billion in adjusted revenue, an 18 percent decline year over year.

“it’s question of when, not if, our mobility business will recover”

But the company sees a light at the end of the tunnel. “All early evidence we see makes it increasingly clear that it’s question of when, not if, our mobility business will recover,” said Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi in a call with investors.

Delivery continues to be a bright spot for the company. Gross bookings in Uber Eats grew 135 percent year over year, thanks to increased demand for food and grocery deliveries. Uber is expanding its delivery options as the coronavirus pandemic continues to hammer its core ride-hailing business. The company acquired Postmates for $2.65 billion, and recently launched an on-demand grocery delivery service in Latin America and Canada as part of its acquisition of Cornershop.

“It’s my belief that the tail winds behind this category are so strong that we can continue to deliver exceptional growth,” Khosrowshahi said.

It wasn’t as grim a quarter as the first three months, in which Uber’s net loss was $2.9 billion. Nor was it as bad as the second quarter. But it was a sign that widespread shutdown orders due to the pandemic and the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in many markets, most notably the US, was continuing to depress the company’s finances.

The company did score a big win in California, where its Prop 22 ballot measure won by a large margin. Khosrowshahi discussed building on that victory by advocating for similar measures at the national and global level.

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