Uber said resurgent demand for rides and food orders propelled it to its biggest month for overall bookings in the company’s 12-year history as the rate of vaccinations picks up across the US.
In a Monday regulatory filing, Uber said March was its best month for ride bookings since the previous March, when the pandemic began and people stayed put in their homes. The ride-hailing business was doing an annualized run rate of $30 billion, while average daily ride bookings were up 9 percent last month compared to a year ago, the company said.
The company’s delivery services, meanwhile, surged more than 150 percent last month to an annualized run rate of $52 billion to set an all-time record, the San Francisco tech giant said in a regulatory filing.
The company’s food delivery business has grown exponentially during the pandemic, helping to stem the losses in its ride-hailing business over the past year.
The only downside for Uber now as both divisions grow is that the company is struggling to keep up with demand.
“As vaccination rates increase in the United States, we are observing that consumer demand for mobility is recovering faster than driver availability,” the company said in a statement, adding that the “consumer demand for delivery continues to exceed courier availability.”
Last week, the company introduced new incentives to attract more drivers and ensure their availability.
The $250 million investment will give drivers temporary bonuses tied to how many trips they make in a month, the company said.
Drivers can earn more than $1,000 and close to $2,000 extra if they make anywhere frome 100 to 200 trips in a month.
“We want drivers to take advantage of higher earnings now because this is likely a temporary situation. As the recovery continues, we expect more drivers will be hitting the road, which means that over time earnings will come back to pre-Covid levels,” the company said.
Separately, Uber announced a new initiative along with PayPal and Walgreens called Vaccine Access Fund that allows customers to make a donation that will help people in underserved communities to get a free ride to a vaccination site. The three companies have committed to donating $11 million to the fund and are also asking customers to contribute to it.
Shares of Uber rose 2.9 percent to close at $59.44.