Uber CEO's Reaction to Cost of 3-Mile Ride: 'Oh My God'

'Wired' writer shares conversation about the tab in new article
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2023 1:10 PM CDT
Updated Aug 6, 2023 11:20 AM CDT
Price of 3-Mile Uber Ride Startles Uber CEO
An Uber car drives through LaGuardia Airport in New York, March 15, 2017.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Wired reporter Steven Levy fittingly took an Uber to the company's annual product event in May. It was a 2.95-mile ride from downtown New York City to the West Side, and the cost was "nuts," in Levy's telling. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi seemingly agrees. In a newly published Wired article, Levy shares that in a Q&A after the event, he recounted the distance of his ride to Khosrowshahi and asked him to guess the cost. Twenty bucks, the CEO replied. The true tab was $51.69. Khosrowshahi's off-the-cuff reaction: "Oh my God. Wow."

Levy then noted that had he booked the ride five minutes earlier, he would have paid $20 more. Khosrowshahi attributed that to surge pricing, an explainer Levy dismissed. "A surge makes no sense. It's 10 am on a sunny weekday, and it's not like the president's in town." Khosrowshahi cited inflation in response, noting it's "become a part of our everyday life. ... Earnings per week for our drivers are up 40%, 50% over the past four years, because that is the cost of time and the cost of labor. I think that's positive." Levy slipped in this after that last comment: "[According to some reports, Uber fares have increased at least four times faster than the rate of inflation.]"

The Wired article appeared online on the same day Uber reported its first operating profit in its 16 years, for Q2 of this year. The Wall Street Journal reports Uber posted a profit of $394 million for the three months ending in June, versus a $2.6 billion loss in Q2 2022. Khosrowshahi noted that US and Canadian ride volume is back at pre-pandemic levels and that the company is completing an average of 25 million trips per day across its markets, reports Reuters. Still, Reuters notes Uber shares dropped 6% in trading on Tuesday after it warned of effective pricing competition from Lyft. (More Uber stories.)

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