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Record March Bookings Keep Uber on Track for Year-End Profitability

By Rich Duprey - Updated Apr 12, 2021 at 11:18AM

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The ridesharing giant is experiencing so much demand, it doesn't have enough drivers to meet it.

Announcing that gross bookings in March hit their highest monthly level in its 12-year history, Uber Technologies (UBER -4.53%) reported today that it remains on track to achieve quarterly adjusted EBITDA profitability in 2021.

Total company gross bookings achieved an all-time record last month, while its mobility bookings, which are its rideshare services, had their best month since March 2020. In fact, demand is growing so fast in the U.S. thanks to the availability of COVID-19 vaccines, it is outstripping the supply of available drivers.

Masked driver behind wheel

Image source: Uber Technologies.

Gross rideshare bookings reached $30 billion on an annualized run rate with average daily bookings rising 9% year over year. Even in Uber's delivery segment, demand is running well ahead of courier availability, with gross bookings crossing the annualized $52 billion run rate threshold.

Last week Uber announced it was increasing its incentives to lure in more drivers.

In a company blog post, the company's vice president for U.S. and Canada mobility, Dennis Cinelli, wrote that Uber was "launching a $250 million driver stimulus to boost already high earnings for drivers."

During much of the pandemic, with lockdown orders the rule of the day, many drivers had quit because they couldn't get enough trips to earn a living.

The Financial Times reports Apptopia data shows daily Uber driver log-ins were down 40% in the first three months of 2021 compared to the same period last year.

Rival Lyft (LYFT -5.57%) is also reportedly paying drivers to come back by offering them an $800 signing bonus.

Uber also announced that because it lost a U.K. court decision last month that requires it to consider its independent drivers to be employees, first-quarter results are going to take a hit. But the charges won't be included in its adjusted EBITDA results.

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