Nov 10, 2020 - Economy

Lyft touts California ballot victory amid mixed Q3 results

A hand holding a phone showing the Lyft app with a dollar sign

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Lyft posted a much larger loss than analysts expected, though it beat revenue estimates, in its third quarter results reported Tuesday. But on a call with analysts, the company pointed to its recent legislative victory in California and the potential it sees in expanding its foray into delivery as signs of better times ahead.

Why it matters A week ago, Lyft and other gig companies got California voters to back a ballot proposal that cements their drivers' status as independent contractors, which is central to the companies' business models.

Meanwhile: Lyft also touted its burgeoning delivery business, which it began during the pandemic as demand for ride-hailing suddenly plummeted.

  • According to Zimmer, Lyft prefers to stick to a business-to-business approach rather than build out a consumer-facing service. He took a jab at rival Uber's food delivery service for charging restaurants a commission for deliveries and access to its marketplace.
  • Yes, but: Lyft also touted during the call its month-old partnership with food delivery company GrubHub — which charges restaurants fees in line with Uber Eats and other peers, and was recently sued by restaurants for providing delivery without their permission.

The big picture: Unlike Uber, Lyft has stuck to ride-hailing (plus bike and scooter rentals), and didn't have an established delivery business to turn to when the pandemic hit.

  • Nevertheless, the company said it still projects reaching EBITDA profitability in next year's fourth quarter.

By the numbers:

  • Loss per share: $1.46, compared to $0.91 expected, per Yahoo Finance.
  • Revenue: $499.7 million, compared to $486.45 million expected, per Yahoo Finance.
  • Active riders: 12.5 million, down 44% year-over-year.
  • Revenue per active rider: $39.94, down 7% year-over-year.

Lyft's stock price traded about 5% higher in after-market hours.

Listen: Zimmer speaks to Axios' Re:Cap podcast about what comes next for the gig economy

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