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Photo: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

Since going public in March, Lyft is now easing off its price-cut war with rival Uber, instead competing on “brand and experience."

The bottom line: As part of its Q2 earnings, the company revealed that its sales and marketing expenses for incentives — meaning ride "coupons" — have dropped by 40% from the first quarter. It’s also quietly raising some prices at the end of June to improve its margins.

  • “More specifically, we began to adjust prices on select routes and in select cities based on costs and demand elasticities,” said finance chief Brian Roberts of the select fare increases. “We expect that these changes will accelerate Lyft's path to profitability, and further, we believe these price adjustments reflect an industry trend,” he added, hinting that we should expect Uber to be doing the same.
  • Lyft's sales and marketing expenses as a percentage of revenue dropped from 29% in Q1 to 19% in Q2. Lyft expects this figure to hover around the same level for the rest of the year.

And while Lyft previously expected to generate its “peak losses” in 2019, its revised outlook for the rest of the year means it now believes its biggest losses were last year.

  • It reduced its expected adjusted losses for the year by $300 million to between $850 million and $875 million.

The big picture: Lyft attempted to paint a picture of its “path to profitability” for investors on Thursday, emphasizing that it’s adjusting its margins by cutting costs, increasing revenue per active rider, and increasing more profitable rides like those to and from airports, in premium cars, for medical providers and corporate transportation.

Yes, but: Lyft is far from being out of the woods. It’s still much smaller than rival Uber and has very large losses.

  • Despite growth in Lyft's bike and scooter business, that faces a slew of challenges as well, from technical defects to an expected decrease in ridership during the winter.

Go deeper

Updated 52 mins ago - World

Skripal poisoning suspects linked to Czech blast, as country expels 18 Russians

Combined images released by British police in 2018 of Alexander Petrov (L) and Ruslan Boshirov, who are suspected of carrying out an attack in the in the southern English city of Salisbury using Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent, and also the2014 Czech depot explosion. Photo: Metropolitan Police via Getty Images

Czech police on Saturday connected two Russian men suspected of carrying out a poisoning attack in Salisbury, England, with a deadly ammunition depot explosion southeast of the capital, Prague, per Reuters.

Driving the news: Czech officials announced Saturday they're expelling 18 Russian diplomats they accuse of being involved in the blast in Vrbětice, AP notes. Czech police said later they're searching for two men carrying several passports — including two named Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.

Indianapolis mass shooting suspect legally bought 2 guns, police say

Marion County Forensic Services vehicles are parked at the site of a mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Friday. Photo: Jeff Dean/AFP via Getty Images

The suspected gunman in this week's mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis legally purchased two assault rifles believed to have been used in the attack, police said late Saturday.

Of note: The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's statement that Brandon Scott Hole, 19, bought the rifles last July and September comes a day after the FBI said in a statement to news outlets that a "shotgun was seized" from the suspect in March 2020 after his mother raised concerns about his mental health.

U.S. and China agree to take joint climate action

US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry waves as he arrives at the Elysee Presidential Palace on March 10, 2021 in Paris. Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Despite an increasingly tense relationship, the U.S. and China agreed Saturday to work together to tackle global climate change, including by "raising ambition" for emissions cuts during the 2020s — a key goal of the Biden administration.

Why it matters: The joint communique released Saturday evening commits the world's two largest emitters of greenhouse gases to work together to keep the most ambitious temperature target contained in the Paris Climate Agreement viable by potentially taking additional emissions cuts prior to 2030.