March 19 (UPI) — With the spread of the new coronavirus in the U.S., most people have started working from home in the past two weeks and have cut back on travel and partying, according tomedia reports. Americans have seen a sharp drop in spending on taxi services such as Uber and Lyft.
In the seven days to March 16, U.S. consumers spent 21 percent less on Uber than in the seven days to March 16, while spending on Lyft fell 19 percent over the same period, according to Edison Trends, a market research firm. By contrast, the average weekly taxi ride by U.S. consumers at Uber and Lyft rose 3 percent and 4 percent in the eight weeks ended March 2.
As some U.S. cities are enforcing lockout orders, the spending figures also highlight the challenges facing ride-calling service companies in the future. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that local residents should also be prepared for the possibility, following the recent “in-place asylum” order in the San Francisco Bay Area.
In California, where Uber and Lyft are headquartered, U.S. consumers spent 27 percent less on a single trip in the seven days ended March 16 than in the previous seven days. Uber, the world’s largest ride-hailing company, accounts for 9 percent of orders in California. California is also Lyft’s main market.
According to Edison Trends, taxi service spending in New York also fell sharply over the same period. Edison Trends also said weekly taxi spending in Washington state has been falling for at least three weeks.
Last month Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s chief executive, predicted that the company would make some profit in the fourth quarter of this year, a year ahead of the previous commitment. Lyft has said it will be profitable by the end of next year.
Lyft’s shareprice has fallen nearly 60 per cent in the past month as investors worried about the impact of the outbreak on taxi services and a decline in the market as a whole. Both companies’ share prices are well below the levels they were trading in last year.