Uber hasn’t had much to brag about lately. Its public image is in tatters, its CEO has resigned in disgrace, and hundreds of thousands of people have deleted the app. But despite almost daily evidence that the company is in free fall, the core product — Uber’s app — remains quite popular.
Today, the company announced a significant milestone: 5 billion trips completed worldwide. This comes a little less than a year after Uber said it had completed its 2 billionth trip, which means it took the company less than 365 days to double that figure — and then some.
Importantly it wasn’t one single trip that put them over the 5 billion mark, but 156 trips that started simultaneously at 7:29AM GMT on Saturday, May 20th. “These trips happened in 24 countries on six continents, in cities like Mumbai, Moscow and Medellin,” a trio of Uber executives wrote in a blog post today. “One lucky driver was on his first trip: he picked up a passenger on a motorbike in Jakarta, Indonesia. And six riders were taking their first Uber trips, too.”
Each of the drivers involved in these 156 trips will receive $500 from Uber. (For the 2 billionth trip, the drivers got $450, and the riders received $450 in free Uber trips.)
To be sure, Uber’s habit of continually shooting itself in the foot has had an effect on its business. Uber’s US marketshare fell from 84 percent at the beginning of this year to 77 percent at the end of May, according to research firm Second Measure. Meanwhile, Lyft’s bookings were up 135 percent year over year in April, according to PYMNTS.com. Customer satisfaction with Uber is down, too. Nationwide, 10 percent fewer users rank Uber the best ride-hailing app today as compared to September 2016, according to Autolist.com.
But as long as drivers and riders continue to flock to the platform, Uber should be able to weather the storm. It’s a pretty remarkable accomplishment: simultaneously imploding from internal scandals and exploding in popularity.