Lyft Sees ‘Big Opportunity’ for Corp. Travel After Muted Q1

Like other ground suppliers, January ride volumes for Lyft were soft due to the Covid-19 omicron variant, but demanded rebounded sharply in February and March, company executives said on a Tuesday first-quarter earnings call.

“Drivers in Q1 gave more rides on average than they did in 2019, and average ride ETAs in Q1 were 30 percent better on average than in the first quarter of last year,” Lyft co-founder and CEO Logan Green said. “We believe more demand is ahead of us, particularly in the second half of this year. Keep in mind our Q1 rideshare ride volumes, which hit a new Covid high, were still only around 70 percent recovered versus the Q4 2019 level.”

Lyft reported first-quarter 2022 revenue of $875.6 million, a 44 percent year-over-year increase from the $609 million reported in 2021, but down 10 percent quarter over quarter. That figure also represents an increase of nearly 13 percent from the $776 million reported for the same period in 2019.

Net loss for the first quarter was $196.9 million versus net losses of $427.3 million a year prior and $283.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2021. It also is an improvement from the $1.1 billion first-quarter loss Lyft reported in 2019.

The company’s active riders for the quarter were up nearly 32 percent to about 17,800 versus nearly 13,500 in Q1 2021. But that also represents a decrease from just over 18,700 riders reported for the fourth quarter of 2021.

“Revenue per active rider in Q1 was the second-highest it’s ever been at $49.18, up 9 percent or roughly $4 versus Q1 2021 and just 5 percent short of the peak set in Q4 2021,” Lyft CFO Elaine Paul said. But that figure is down from the $51.79 reported in the prior quarter.

Airport rides were relatively flat in the first quarter at 8 percent of rides versus 9 percent in the prior quarter, Paul said, “and we feel bullish about this going forward with the rebound in travel. … In addition, we think there’s more headroom with return to work. And within travel and related to return to work, we also see headroom with business travel. That’s a big opportunity for us.”

Lyft’s guidance projects second-quarter revenue of $950 million to $1 billion, which would represent quarter-over-quarter growth of 9 percent to 14 percent, Paul said. Adjusted earnings before taxes, depreciation and amortization is anticipated to be between $10 million and $20 million.

For full year 2022, Lyft remains “cautiously optimism” that it will grow revenue faster than the 36 percent achieved in 2021, Paul said.

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