While 2017 was a year full of change for Uber, so too did Lyft enjoy a lot of change. Interestingly enough, these changes were all instigated from the top down. Where the founder CEO's of both companies made all the decisions that led to the changes in the company's performances.
When we look at the financial performance of both companies in comparison to each other, Lyft's revenues grew by 168 percent during 2017 and reached $1 billion in GAAP standards, while Uber only grew by 61%, this shows a 2.75x difference between Lyft and Uber.
2018 looks like Lyft is continuing to expand at this great rate, with over 10 million rides a week, moving Lyft's continuous over 100% per annum performance in the 1st quarter of 2018.
Since both companies are still private and tend to keep their financial data hidden from scrutiny, no one can really tell what the exact figures are and what level of profitability is made per ride. Having stated this, we can ascertain within a level of confidence that if the income is based on the service fee and platform fee that is taken as a percentage from every ride, which is 25% and $2.15 (Average price) per ride, then 25% of all Lyft’s revenues come from rides. This 25% can be compounded into a general averaged figure, based on the income per mile and per hour.
The immediate figure we have is from the service fee which is $2.15 when multiplied by the 10 million rides per week gives us an immediate income of $21.5 million per week income. Add to this the 25% of variable fee-based income, factor in cancellation fees, and you have the total income for Lyft. Since a base ride can be no less than the minimum of $1.50 (averaged weighted minimum since the fares vary per city), then the base fare 25% is $0.125, which means that the minimum income is $1.25 million per week, giving Lyft a total minimum income of $22.75 million per week. This will give us a total of $1.186 billion per year. This translates into considerably more when you factor in the true average ride cost which would be around 10 times that amount.
So, now the question has to be asked, where does all this money go? Since we know that the fleet of drivers is all autonomous, self-employed, Lyft does not pay a dime over the fee income for fleet maintenance, and we know that Lyft's costs are only for customer service and marketing. Where does all this money go?
The obvious answer is into the AV research, and this leads us to ask, why doesn't Lyft separate the two operations, and have a separate funding source for each one. Turn the rideshare business into a profitable one and fund the AV research as a separate entity.