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‘Oh my God. Wow!’ Says Uber CEO When Told of Customer’s $52 Three-Mile Ride

By Jake Beardslee · August 2, 2023

In brief…

  • A reporter was charged $51.69 for short 2.95-mile Uber ride to meet CEO Dara Khosrowshahi in lower Manhattan.
  • Khosrowshahi acknowledged rising Uber rates due to reduced subsidies and inflation.
  • Uber's CEO stressed the need to have "happy" drivers.
  • Despite high prices, Uber maintains growth and competitive advantages over DoorDash.
  • Uber just posted the first quarterly profit in its 14-year history.
"Inflation has become a part of our everyday life" said Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi of his company's recent price hikes. Commons/CC0

A reporter who took an Uber from lower Manhattan to meet Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi for an interview was charged a mind-blowing $51.69 for the short 2.95-mile ride.

“Oh my God. Wow!” was all Khosrowshahi could say when “Wired” writer Steven Levy showed him the tab. Levy reported their conversation Tuesday.

Acknowledging that Uber rates have shot up as the company has pulled back on subsidies, Khosrowshahi said, “Everything is more expensive. Inflation has become a part of our everyday life.” While customers suffer sticker-shock, Khosrowshahi insists Uber’s services remain compelling, saying the company is still seeing customer growth. He attributed Levy’s costly trip to surge pricing.

Khosrowshahi said the company is committed to treating their drivers as “first-class citizens,” pointing to innovations like showing drivers destinations upfront. “If you have a happy driver, you’re going to have a good Uber ride,” he said, adding that he himself has worked as an Uber driver in order to better understand the experience of the company’s 5.4 million drivers and couriers.

On claims that DoorDash will “clobber” Uber Eats, Khosrowshahi said he has “a lot of respect” for DoorDash CEO Tony Xu, but believes Uber has the best team and significant competitive advantages. “I’ll let the results speak,” he said.

Founded in 2009, Uber, which just posted its first-ever quarterly operating profit, still holds onto its “underdog mentality,” which Khosrowshahi said he never wants to lose.

Even so, $51.69 for a short ride across Manhattan is not exactly chickenfeed. The travel-delivery service platform will have to work hard to keep its prices down if it hopes to keep its growth up.