Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said Tuesday afternoon that while driver supply is getting better as more people get vaccinated against the coronavirus, there’s still plenty of room to go as demand for rides outpaces supply.
“ETAs are higher than we want them to be, surge level prices have increased as we have not seen drivers supply keep up with the demand growth in the U.S.,” Khosrowshahi said at the J.P. Morgan Technology, Media and Communications Conference
“The supply position is something we’re still working on. It’s definitely getting better but we’re not happy with the ETAs and price levels we see and that is something we’re going to invest to improve on,” he added.
With Americans getting vaccinated and governments easing pandemic restrictions, people are ready to travel and leave their homes again, turning to rideshare companies. However, Uber and Lyft are still dealing with a slow return of drivers. If the companies can’t bring in enough drivers to meet demand, they could face annoyed customers who are having to shell out more cash and wait longer.
Uber said last month it would spend $250 million on a one-time stimulus
aimed at getting drivers back on the road. In its first-quarter earnings call earlier this month, Khosrowshahi said they would “continue to lean in with targeted incentives for new and existing drivers.”
Lyft also said earlier this month it would use its cut from elevated pricing to fund investments to bring back more drivers. In terms of bringing out more incentives, Lyft President John Zimmer said at the same conference on Monday afternoon that the company would be “smart about it.”
“We’re extremely confident and have already started to see significant improvement,” Zimmer said.
Both Uber and Lyft said this month they expect the supply and demand issues to press on business in the second quarter, and would see recovery in the third.
“We’re confident in our ability to execute,” Khosrowshahi said.
*By Jessica Bursztynsky, CNBC*