Uber is entangled in scandals and sexual harassment allegations, but you wouldn’t know it from the numbers.
Rachel Holt, head of the ride-hailing service's U.S. and Canada operation, spoke with reporters on a Tuesday conference call, and in a week during which two senior executives resigned, she said Uber riders in the U.S. took more trips than ever before.
“In fact, in our most mature country, we’ve grown faster in the first 10 weeks of 2017 than in the first 10 weeks of 2016,” Holt said. “Looking at less-mature regions, trips were up 600% in February, year on year.”
When asked to elaborate what this accelerated growth referred to, Holt said new riders continue to join the platform at increasing rates and existing riders continue to take more and more trips in 2017. She did not disclose any specific growth numbers.
The remarks about Uber’s growth come at an awkward time for the company. In January, a #DeleteUber boycott erupted on Twitter after some users accused Uber of trying to profit from a taxi driver protest against President Donald Trump’s immigration ban. Although CEO Travis Kalanick later announced he would create a $3 million legal defense fund for drivers affected by the ban, more than 200,000 customers still deleted their accounts.
The #DeleteUber hashtag came back for round two after a former engineer published a blog post in February, in which she said she had repeatedly complained about sexual harassment and discrimination at the company, but was ignored or punished.
Other recent PR problems include a video of Kalanick berating a driver (he later apologized) and an exodus of seven top executives in the past month. Meanwhile the CEO is in the process of hiring a second-in-command to help him lead.
During Tuesday's call, Holt also said Uber was making efforts to improve the way it works with drivers to ensure “they feel heard and respected.” The company said it plans to update customer support policies and institute additional driver training.
“These examples are just a start in our effort to overhaul our relationship with drivers and we know we have a long way to go,” she said. “We have listened and we’ve heard that the major pain points from drivers are earnings, stress, support, and communications. We are committed to making progress on core driver issues this issues this year.”