Uber hit hard by COVID-19, rides down by as much as 70% in some cities

Uber—the on-demand transportation and food delivery behemoth—has been hit hard by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said today in a call with investors that ride volume has gone down by as much as 60% to70% in recent days in the hardest-hit cities like Seattle, and that’s before you consider the pauses in some of its services, and the dubious distinction of becoming one of the earliest proof- of-concepts of just how spreadable this virus really is.

But Khosrowshahi also told investors in an update that the company believes it is “well-positioned” to ride the troubles out even in the worst-case scenario of rides down by 80% for the year. And even as rides for passengers are down, it is also considering leveraging its network for delivering other things, such as medicine or basic goods.

“We already have contact in the health sector, we’ve got all of the processes that we need,” he said, referring to Uber Health. He also said that the company had “ample liquidity”. The company said it currently has $10 billion of unrestricted cash on hand as of the end of February, with $1.5 billion of that earmarked for M&A through the end of the year (that includes investment in Cornershop and its Careem obligation).

“The most important thing to know is that we’re well positioned to weather this crisis and emerge even stronger,” he said on the call.