A news flash, this isn’t: Ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft have become fairly mainstream in the last few years. The share of U.S. adults that have tried ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft more than doubled from 15% in 2015 to 36% last fall, according to a Pew Research Center survey released Friday. Those numbers look much better if you just look at 18-to-29 year-olds or urbanites, roughly half of whom have taken these services and tend to drive themselves less often than older or more rural residents.
But what might be concerning for the companies is the lack of U.S. adults who are consistent customers. About 4% of U.S. adults say they use ride-hailing services at least weekly, up from 3% in 2015, according to Pew. That’s significantly less than the portion of U.S. adults, 11%, that told Pew in 2015 they take public transportation daily or weekly. This is one reason why you hear Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi talking publicly about wanting to “run the bus systems” for cities and why Uber and Lyft are investing in cheaper, short-distance transportation services like electric scooters and bikes. At some point, people face limits in how much they’ll pay regularly for urban transportation. To keep regular customers, ride-hailing firms need a range of offerings.