Uber continues to be viewed favorably by U.S. business travelers in Q2 2016, according to a new study released by online travel and expense management service provider Certify. Overall, ride-hailing services are becoming the preferred ground transportation method, a further signal that incumbent options like taxis are no longer getting the job done. In fact, taxi ridership has gone down 51 percent nationwide since 2014.
Analyzing more than 10 million business travel receipts and expenses, Certify also sees that not only are taxis being displaced, but car rentals are, as well. Travelers perhaps feel it’s less economical and more burdensome to wait in line to rent a car than to summon an ad hoc personal driver right on their mobile device and never have to worry about parking, filling up on gas, or buying insurance.
While Uber captured a lot of business last quarter, travelers love Lyft as well. These ride-hailing services are used for a variety of reasons, including the fact that the average cost per ride is lower than in a taxi. Certify said that costs dropped 15.5 percent from last year to $25.48 per ride for Uber and decreased 7.7 percent in the same time frame to $20.78 per ride for Lyft. But for taxis, costs went up more than 15 percent from Q2 2015 to $39.80.
Uber’s fiercest U.S. competitor is also gaining traction around the country. Although Certify claimed that Lyft had 5 percent of all surveyed ride-hailing transactions overall, the company has a faster growth rate than Uber, 145 percent versus 176 percent. Interestingly, the report said that Lyft had a 25 percent growth rate in Austin, Texas this past quarter, compared to Uber’s 75 percent. This was presumably based off of the receipts gathered before both services were ushered out of town.
“The market continues to grow at an incredible pace, and competition is getting sharper and more sophisticated,” said Certify CEO Robert Neveu. “I think what we’re seeing now is really the emergence of the kind of market forces you find in more mature industries, forces that will invariably drive downward pressure on pricing, as well as an increased demand for new and better services in the future. Ride-hailing was bent on disruption from the beginning, and by the looks of it, there’s a lot more change to come.”
Uber and Lyft have been aggressively courting the business traveler, a sign that there’s more money to be gained from this group of riders. Both have introduced business profiles that enable you to separate rides across different credit cards so you don’t have to deal with expensing trips for work. And Uber has continued a spate of announcements around its efforts, including integrating rider accounts with expense management services such as Certify to make handling work expenses easier.