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Q3 2023 Earnings Call
Nov 08, 2023, 5:00 p.m. ET


Prepared Remarks Questions and Answers Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:


Good afternoon, and welcome to the Lyft third quarter 2023 earnings call. At this time, all participants are in listen mode only to prevent any background noise. Later, we will conduct a question-and-answer session, and instructions will be given at that time. [Operator instructions].

As a reminder, this conference call is being recorded. I’d now like to hand over the call to Sonya Banerjee, head of investor relations. You may now begin the conference.

Sonya BanerjeeHead of Investor Relations

Thank you. Welcome to the Lyft earnings call for the third quarter of 2023. On the call today, we have our CEO, David Risher; and our CFO, Erin Brewer. In addition, Kristin Sverchek, our president, is here for the Q&A session.

We’ll make forward-looking statements on today’s call relating to our business strategy and performance, future financial results, and guidance. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those projected or implied during this call. These factors and risks are described in our earnings materials and our recent SEC filings. All of the forward-looking statements that we make on today’s call are based on our beliefs as of today, and we disclaim any obligation to update any forward-looking statements, except as required by law.

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Our discussion will include non-GAAP financial measures, which are not a substitute for our GAAP results. Reconciliations of our historical GAAP to non-GAAP results may be found in our earnings materials, which are available on our IR website. Also, please be aware that today we’ve announced changes to our key business metrics. These changes are described in our press release and our supplemental slide deck, which are also available on our Investor Relations website.

And with that, I’ll pass the call to David. David?

David RisherChief Executive Officer

Thank you, Sonya. Hey, and good afternoon, everyone. Thanks for joining us. I am thrilled with our progress, creating a customer-obsessed and financially strong Lyft.

More drivers and riders are choosing Lyft every day. In fact, this is post Q3, just in the past few weeks, our gross bookings have been the highest in our history. The actions we’ve taken over this year to refocus our business on drivers and riders, including pricing more competitively and improving the customer experience are producing incredible results. In the first nine months of 2023, we supported over 0.5 billion rides and generated more than $10 billion in gross bookings.

Ride growth has accelerated each quarter this year, up 10% year on year in Q1, 17% in Q2, 20% in Q3 with better balance in our marketplace, prime time is at the lowest level it’s been in years, and drivers’ pickup times have gotten faster across our regions. These factors underpinned our very solid Q3 performance. A big headline this quarter is that more drivers are choosing Lyft and they’re driving more often. In Q3, this resulted in an almost 45% year-over-year increase in the number of hours drivers spend using Lyft with non-incentivized hours growing even faster.

Our focus for drivers is on making Lyft the simplest way to earn, and that’s paying off. So, even what rider demand accelerated, our conversion rate, which means the share of ride intent that converts to rides taken was stable, and that translates to a higher volume of completed rides. Overall, our execution was impressive. Our teams worked in lock staff to prepare for back-to-school and return to office and delivered very strong results.

For example, over the roughly 70 regions we targeted for back-to-school, and here we’re really referring to university towns, rideshare rides grew by 25% year on year, reflecting a surge in new and returning riders and drivers. And with return to office, morning commute rides grew even faster, up more than 30% year on year, the last week in September. This means more after-work activity, too. We’re gaining a pickup in weekday evening rides, particularly Thursdays and Fridays.

All of this great execution, bottom line, we’re having more people get out and get connected, which is core to our purpose and something we’re really excited to see. And we’re continuing to listen to customers and act on what we’re learning to create differentiated experiences. Women+ Connect, which we introduced in early September is a great example. It’s a feature that prioritizes matching women and nonbinary drivers and riders giving them more comfort, more camaraderie, and more control when they use Lyft.

In our early access cities, we’ve seen great results, more than half of eligible drivers have opted into this feature. It’s very unusual and are keeping the feature turned on nearly the entire time they’re online. I actually want to give you a little color just on this. The feedback we’ve gotten has been amazing.

Ambrosia, one of the drivers in Chicago told us, “Having Women+ Connect actually encourages me to drive more.” And Amy, a driver in Phoenix says, “I find myself driving more at night with Women+ Connect, which has allowed new opportunities for me to earn money.” So, listening carefully to what the drivers are saying. Both examples speak to how customer-obsessed features can directly improve their experience but also our business metrics, in this case, increasing driver hours which, of course, leads to more rides on the platform. Last thing we’ll say about this right now is customers and city officials have taken notice, and they’re asking us when Women+ Connect will be available in their market. That’s why we accelerated the rollout of Women+ Connect to an additional 50 cities and towns last week, and we expect it to be available nationwide early next year.

Women+ Connect is a great example of the type of innovation that customers want, and they can reinforce our brand, expand our addressable market, and help drive preference and growth over time. As we move into the holiday season, we will continue to deliver new customer-obsessed features targeted to driver and rider needs. As one example, we want to make getting to and from airports stress-free. We’ve already done a ton of work this year to make scheduled rides highly reliable.

And we actually have a big announcement coming tomorrow that will provide even more peace of mind to riders going to the airport this holiday season. So, please stay tuned for that. Finally, I want to touch on a small but growing part of our business that can improve our margins over time, Lyft media. We have a great opportunity to connect brands with our millions of riders in ways that deliver differentiated, relevant messages and experiences.

In Q3, our Lyft media unit launched in-app advertising, which adds to our in-car, on-car, and on-street offerings that you’ve probably seen if you’ve been in Manhattan recently. We can tailor ads to where a rider is heading and to their lifestyle. So, imagine you’re on the way to the movies and getting an ad that allows you to preorder your drinks and your popcorn. It’s a great experience, means you’re even readier to go by the time you get there.

This is what’s opening up conversations with partners like Universal Pictures who want to help design and co-launch new ad products, including in-app video advertising, which will roll out this quarter. It’s still early days, and this is a small business now, but we see a ton of potential to be creative in how we enable brands to engage with riders in relevant moments and build a meaningful and, of course, very high-margin ad business. Now, before I turn the call over to Erin, it’s worth taking just a moment to reflect on the road we’ve traveled over this year and really over my first seven months or so. We’ve refocused our business, we’ve streamlined our cost structure, and we are operating in a healthy and competitive way.

We’re also building a culture of true customer addition and operational excellence. These are all foundational to our ability to deliver profitable growth. In fact, a phrase you’ll hear me say several times as customer obsession drives profitable growth, and that’s what we’re seeing. So, as we move on to 2024, we’ve got our foot on the pedal.

I want to say a huge thanks to the entire Lyft team for their unbelievable work. We’ve got a lot more to do, but we’re super excited about the road ahead. Erin, over to you.

Erin BrewerChief Financial Officer

Thanks, David. Good afternoon, everyone, and thanks for joining us today. I’m going to kick things off by addressing the changes we’re making to our key business metrics, then I’ll review our Q3 results as well as our Q4 guidance. Before I dive in, I want to remind everyone that unless otherwise indicated, all income statement measures are non-GAAP and exclude select items, which are detailed in our earnings materials.

Starting with new metrics. Today, we’ve introduced gross bookings, rides, and adjusted EBITDA margin as a percentage of gross bookings. If you haven’t seen our supplemental slides, please take a look at them as they contain detailed information, including seven quarters and two fiscal years of historical data. We hope you find this information useful.

Overall, our expanded disclosures better align our reporting with our strategic priorities and how we are managing the business. Let’s start with rides which represent how much our platform is used across rideshare as well as bikes and scooters. At a high level, when we grow rides, it shows that drivers and riders are choosing Lyft. Our objective is to grow rise within the construct of building a durable, healthy and profitable business.

Next, gross bookings, which reflect the aggregate size and impact of our business. On the rideshare side, gross bookings includes applicable fees, poles and taxes invoiced to riders, but excludes tips to drivers. This is consistent with our largest competitor. Gross bookings also includes amounts that are invoiced to our non-rideshare operations, for example, related to bikes, scooters, Express Drive, data licensing and advertising.

We’re also moving to reporting adjusted EBITDA margin as a percentage of gross bookings. Please note that our definition of adjusted EBITDA as described in our earnings materials and SEC filings is not changing. As a reminder, in connection with our IPO, we disclosed a rise in bookings metrics. I’m going to touch on how these new metrics compare.

Our definition of rides is consistent with the prior metric. However, our S-1 disclosure would have reflected a significant volume of shared rides. Which, as a reminder, was largely sunset earlier this year. Next, the gross bookings metrics we’ve released today is largely consistent with the definitions of bookings included in our S-1 and However, in our S-1 pass-through fee like tolls and taxes were excluded.

And today, we have included those pass-through fees in our definition of gross bookings, again, which is consistent with our largest competitor. Given our focus on gross bookings, we are shifting away from formally providing metrics that anchor to revenue. Of course, you’ll still be able — we’ll still continue to disclose revenue, cost of revenue, adjusted EBITDA, and active riders, so you will still be able to calculate revenue-based metrics. However, beginning in Q4 of 2023, we will no longer present its key metrics, revenue per active rider, contribution, contribution margin or adjusted EBITDA margin as a percentage of revenue.

With that, let’s now move to our third-quarter performance. We came together as a team with purpose to deliver great experience for drivers and riders and saw strong results consistent with our outlook. Driver and rider demand and engagement increased, and our rides growth accelerated. Let me share a few operational and financial highlights for the third quarter.

We supported $187 million rides and 22.4 million active riders. Total rise grew 20% year over year. Within this, rideshare rides grew 22% ride frequency, referring to the average number of rides per active rider was the strongest it’s been in more than three years, but remains a significant growth opportunity. We saw continued momentum in travel with airport trips growing by nearly 15% year over year.

And regionally, the West Coast showed the biggest sequential improvement in Q3 with nights out and commute leading the way. Gross bookings were $3.554 billion, up 15% year over year. This reflects strong rise growth, partially offset by lower prices year over year given our competitive focus and improving health of our marketplace. Revenue was $1.158 billion, up 10% year over year and slightly above the high end of our outlook, driven by rideshare strength.

Cost of revenue was $638 million, up 15% year over year, driven by higher ride volumes along with higher per ride insurance costs, reflecting last year’s third-party insurance renewals. Operating expenses were $455 million, down 18% year over year. As a percentage of gross bookings, operating expenses were 13% and reflecting an improvement of five percentage points versus Q3 of 2022, primarily driven by our recent cost restructuring actions. Relative to Q2 of 2023, operating costs increased by $45 million sequentially, reflecting targeted marketing investments along with volume-driven costs related to bikes and scooters.

Adjusted EBITDA was $92 million, which as a percentage of gross bookings was 2.6% and reflects momentum across the business. We ended the quarter with a solid cash position with unrestricted cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments of approximately $1.7 billion. Now, turning to Q4. We’re off to a great start.

Our teams are executing extremely well, and demand was strong for the month of October. Driver hours maintained their 45% year-over-year growth, and our rideshare ride growth accelerated above the 22% we achieved in Q3. We also delivered a great Halloween week experience for drivers and riders with driver hours, ride intents and rides, each reaching new multiyear highs. With that, let me review our Q4 guidance.

I’ll highlight that our outlook is consistent with our previous directional comments on the fourth quarter. We expect gross bookings of $3.6 billion to $3.7 billion, up 13% to 16% year over year. We expect total rides growth year on year will accelerate slightly from the 20% year-on-year growth rate we saw in Q3 driven by ride share. If you’re doing comparisons on a sequential basis, note that our outlook implies a slight decline in total rides, again sequentially and due to bike and scooter seasonality.

We expect adjusted EBITDA of approximately $50 million to $60 million and an adjusted EBITDA margin as a percentage of gross bookings of roughly 1.4% to 1.6%. This reflects a full-quarter impact of our third-party insurance contract renewals that went into effect on October 1. As you may recall, last quarter, we provided directional Q4 outlook in terms of revenue. So, just to sync that up for you, here’s how our formal guidance compares.

We now expect our fourth quarter revenue will grow mid-single digits quarter over quarter, which is at the high end of our prior directional comments. On a year-over-year basis, our outlook implies revenue growth in low to mid-single digits, reflecting our competitive focus and greatly improved marketplace health versus Q4 of last year. We expect fourth quarter adjusted EBITDA margin as a percentage of revenue will also be at the high end of prior directional comments and roughly in line with the 4% we achieved in Q2 2023. Again, this refers to adjusted EBITDA margin as a percentage of revenue.

And finally, as we make the transition in reporting, consistent with our updated key metrics, I thought it would also be helpful this quarter to share some comments on cost of revenue and operating expenses. We expect our fourth quarter cost of revenue will increase by approximately $100 million quarter over quarter, reflecting the impact of our third-party insurance contract renewals, along with higher ride share ride volumes. We expect operating expenses will be roughly flat quarter over quarter. With that, I’ll bring our prepared remarks to a close.

Our team is focused on building a business that is both customer-obsessed and financially strong. I’ve been impressed with the team’s solid execution and focus on delivering great experiences for drivers and riders. We’ve had a really great start to our fourth quarter, and I’m excited about the road ahead. Operator, we’re now ready for questions.

Questions & Answers:


Ladies and gentlemen, we are now open for the question-and-answer session. [Operator instructions] Our first comes from Mark Mahaney from Evercore. Your line is now open.

Mark MahaneyEvercore ISI — Analyst

OK. Thanks. I make it a point never to congratulate management teams, but congratulations on the much greater disclosure. I think it’s a huge win for investors and for you.

So, thanks for doing that. Two questions I had. One is you talked about the long-term drivers. If we think about the long-term drivers of the company in terms of riders, rides provider, bookings provide, take rate, etc.

I think, Erin, you mentioned a particular confidence about increasing the rides per rider. But just long term, as you think about those drivers, which do you think you have the most power to move, where would be the biggest driver of growth going forward? And then secondly, just a small question on scheduled rides the kind of penetration rate you’re seeing with that now? And just talk about the benefit that has to the model. I assume that’s higher-margin rides for you. Thank you.

David RisherChief Executive Officer

Yeah. Hey, Mark, it’s David. I’ll start and then Erin and I will kind of tag team on this. First, by the way, thanks for the congratulations on the increased transparency.

It’s something that Erin has been focused on since Day 1, and it’s just wonderful to see the team to be able to deliver on it. So, I’m glad you like it, and I hope it helps. On growth, here’s how we think about it. It’s not going to surprise you to hear customer obsession is what drives our focus here.

And let’s just start, and I’m going to zoom out for just a second, so forgive me for a little bit of a long answer. But let’s just start with doing the basics right. Now, you do the basics right, every full day, day in and day at 365 days a year, and customers really notice that. And that’s where you see things like pricing in line with the market come take rate in line with the market and so on and so forth.

Then on top of that, you really build execution excellence. And if you look at a couple of examples that we’ve had, I mentioned back-to-school in my remarks, that didn’t just happen, right? Back-to-school getting 25% year-on-year growth in 70 markets requires a lot of work. We did the same around Halloween. And as we alluded to, those are not just recent year highs.

Those are all-time highs that we achieved in two weeks in the first couple of weeks of October in terms of gross bookings. So, really exceptional performance there. And it just speaks to the importance of just ongoing operational excellence, which is a real focus. And then we add on top of that, you can start to look at differentiated products and services.

I mentioned Women+ Connect. That’s not a small market. We’re talking about 50% of the population are women, of course, only 23% of our drivers are women — by the way, only 15% of driver hours are driven by women, 15%. So, that shows there’s a huge upside in focusing on making women fill more comfortable driving and writing obviously.

Which can really generate all kinds of growth over the long term. Let’s take another use case, you probably saw, I think 100 articles have been written in the paper over the last couple of months about return to office. So, we read those articles, we’re participating ourselves. People are back in the office here at Lyft, and we’re out there selling to companies.

We’ve got relationships with Amazon, with Netflix, with LinkedIn, where we’re trying to take the worst part of community, which is the nonproductive kind of high stress time and make that into a better time for employees, which obviously works well for Lyft as well. So, that’s a big deal. And so, differentiated products, they give people a reason to choose Lyft or Uber, but they also give us a way just to accelerate our growth. And then the end on scheduled drives.

Scheduled rides is so interesting. Right now, it only makes up about 5% of our rideshare rights, which is actually sort of surprising, right? It’s actually a little bit less because — and if you think about it, just using the airport use case, you know you’re going to go to the airport, right? And by the way, so do we because, oftentimes, you linked up your calendar, and so we can remind you about that. So, since, you know, we can start to get ready, right? We can remind you when you make your schedule ride, and then we can really double down on making sure that that is a great experience. And we’re actually going to be talking more about this tomorrow.

We’ve got a a pretty exciting product launch to come to tomorrow around this, but it really is around destressing your life, particularly around the holiday. By the way, schedule rides it’s obvious when you’re talking about airport rides, but I’m looking at Kristin, our president here, and she revealed that she occasionally goes to a Pilates class or yoga. I forget which. And she’s going to start to schedule that because she knows what is going to happen.

It’s easier to than doing it on demand and reliable. To your margin question, yes, it is a little bit of a higher margin product. It’s a higher reliability product. And so, as a result, we can charge a little bit more.

We can pay drivers a little bit more, which encourages them to be there on time. And it’s a better experience for both rider and drivers. So, lots of upside there. And it’s just, I think, one example of one of our modes that as we lean more into, we can really drive growth product.

So, I know that was a long answer, but I just wanted to kind of cover a bunch of bases. Erin, anything you want to add to that?

Erin BrewerChief Financial Officer

Yeah. No, Mark, the only thing that I would say is, David, I think you covered many of the levers. And so, I think it’s to understand that we really do have multiple growth levers across the business. But you also talked about frequency as you think about active riders, and it’s really gratifying to see that frequency, as I think about that year over year even sequentially quarter over quarter is increasing.

I’m sure some of that is again getting out and about after the pandemic or returning to office. But we still think there’s obviously more opportunity there in addition to all of the other levers that David mentioned.

Mark MahaneyEvercore ISI — Analyst

Thank you, Erin. Thank you, David.


Our next question comes from Doug Anmuth from JPMorgan. Your line is now open.

Doug AnmuthJPMorgan Chase and Company — Analyst

Thanks for taking the questions. David, after a couple of years of price inflation, it feels like we’re starting to see some moderation on a like-for-like basis and then combined with the mix shift, perhaps into more affordable right options for consumers. Just curious how you’re thinking about pricing exiting the year and into ’24 and also just wanted to ask about another ride mode in terms of Wait & Save. I think you’ve talked about that as around 30% of rides in the past.

Can you give us an update there on how that product is doing. Thanks.

David RisherChief Executive Officer

Yeah. Sure. So, sort of great points both. So, on pricing, we see pricing as being fairly stable right now.

No major changes. It sounds as around a little bit, as you would expect, but it’s not a significant — we don’t expect a significant change there. We kind of like what we’re seeing. And frankly, our riders do too.

It’s one of the reasons why we’ve seen such great ride growth quarter on quarter and year on year. On Wait & Save, I’m actually really glad you brought it up because I think it’s a great reminder. People do not price rises in a vacuum. And as a rider, you don’t — you’re not — your choice is not binary.

And so, if you are more price sensitive as a rider, or if you’re at a more price sensitive time in your life or if you’re at a time where you frankly have a little of time, you don’t mind burning because you want to go get a coffee at Starbucks or whatever. Wait & Save, it’s a great option. And we see it still. No major changes from where it was before.

I will tell you that wait and save riders take about double the rides of non-Wait & Save riders. So, that really suggests that there’s a segment that you can really speak directly to. And we can optimize it over time, we can improve the economics and so on and so forth. But it’s a really important part of the PIC.

And just to answer the question that you didn’t ask, but I’ll answer it anyway, which is that Uber has got a mode for price-conscious folks, too. It’s called shared rides. And we innovated there. It’s an area where we started.

We largely have turned it off, except for some very specific use cases because we don’t find our riders or our drivers like it very much. So, we think just on a head-to-head basis, we’ve got a better, more customer-obsessed strategy there.

Doug AnmuthJPMorgan Chase and Company — Analyst

Great. Thank you, David.

David RisherChief Executive Officer



Our next question comes from Brian Nowak from Morgan Stanley. Your line is now open.

Brian NowakMorgan Stanley — Analyst

Great. Thanks for taking my questions. I have one on the implied take rate. I appreciate the bookings disclosure.

So, I know take rate can be somewhat crude. But if we sort of take the revenue and divide it by your bookings, it looks like your effective take rate is sort of somewhere in the low 30s somewhat higher, I think, than your competitive peer in the U.S. How do you think about that take rate over the next year or so to try to sort of load balance, supply and demand and sort of more supply into the overall ecosystem? Thanks.

Erin BrewerChief Financial Officer

Yeah. I’ll start with that one. As a reminder, of course, we report as a single segment, and that includes both our rideshare business, but also a mix of bikes and scooters fleet, media, etc. And so, as you think about that total revenue as a percentage of gross bookings, there’s more than rides here there.

What I will say about that, though, as you think about TBS fleet and media. That will drive revenue as a percentage of gross bookings up about two to three percentage points, if you will, depending on seasonality and depending overall in the quarter, but what I would really say bottom line is we, of course, track in a very methodical way. how we are competing in the market, both in terms of price and as it relates to driver earnings, we feel confident that since Q2, we’ve been operating in pricing competitively and in line with the market. And if I can steal a phrase from David, people are voting with their feet, right? More drivers and riders are choosing Lyft.

And that’s, again, just another data point that gives us a sense of where we are competitively.

David RisherChief Executive Officer

Yeah. I’ll just underscore the last thing that Aaron said. Our driver — our strategy with drivers is to pay them fairly for sure and to continue to make sure it’s a great way to earn. And so, we expect to pay in line with the competition, just the same way we price.

And yes, I mean, we’ve seen 45% historic highs and driver hours. So, really, no material difference there. I think it’s more of a math issue around how we present versus how Uber does.

Brian NowakMorgan Stanley — Analyst

Thank you.


Our next question comes from Ken Gawrelski from Wells Fargo. Your line is now open.

Ken GawrelskiWells Fargo Securities — Analyst

Thank you. I appreciate it. I appreciate the question. Could you please help me think about medium-term insurance inflation.

How should we just think about the various dynamics that might play into that first? And then second, again, a kind of more medium-term question, which is if you look out beyond the next several quarters, how do you think about the various factors driving overall ride growth, both from an industry level and from a less level specifically? Thank you.

Erin BrewerChief Financial Officer

Thanks, Ken. I’ll start with the insurance question and then hand it over to David. So, as a reminder, we renewed our most recent set of third-party insurance contracts effective October 1. We renewed those very consistently with how we communicated on our previous earnings call.

So, that gives us substantial visibility over the next 12 months. So, nothing has changed there from what we have previously communicated. Rising auto — that being said, rising auto insurance costs are a reality of our industry overall. The rate increases we saw in this most recent round were lower rate increases than in the previous year.

So, certainly some signs that I think some of the COVID on these rates is abating. But that being said, a core part of how we think about managing our overall cost strategy is thinking about managing our strategy around insurance over a multiyear period and it really encompasses not only thinking multiyear but working across the company in a really cross-functional way. So, it encompasses a couple of different areas. The first one is just around product improvements.

The next one really initiatives around safety. We’ve been working for many years on various initiatives around safety, and we still think there’s more room to grow with that as our capabilities have become more sophisticated. So, anything that helps promote safety, obviously, reduce accidents, using our telematics to improve settlement outcomes is going to be a core part of our strategy. And then finally, what I would say is on the policy side.

We continue to be active on what we view as common sense policy reform. Specifically, as it relates to TNC insurance requirements, these function at a state level. But we are also working side-by-side with our insurance partners, some of the largest insurance carriers certainly in the U.S., in their efforts as an industry to combat what’s sometimes called the social inflation, other times referred to as legal system abuse. So, it’s really a multipronged multidirectional strategy as it relates to insurance.

But again, for this year and for our renewals that we just completed, we completed those as expected, and we have substantial visibility for the next 12 months.

David RisherChief Executive Officer

So, Ken, I’ll kind of pick up exactly where Erin is leaving off. So, just talking about the next 12 months in insurance. I’ll maybe give a little bit of perspective over the next couple of years in terms of growth. If you think of — let’s say this.

The strong execution and just continued operational excellence can really, really drive the business is strong. But if you want to look even longer you’ve got to tap into things that are super, super deep. And it turns out people really like to be together, and people really like to be enjoying their lives outside of just their houses and so forth and so on. And by the way, not only do people like that, but there are all sorts of other companies and organizations that also like that, cities like that could get people out buying.

Partners like that. We’ve got a great reship with Chase Bank, for example. We can talk about that more in-depth later if we’re interested, but the credit card partnership we have with them with their Chase Sapphire is great, great partnership and one that I think in a lot of ways is just getting started. So, I think if you sort of look over the next couple of years, it becomes a little bit less sort of what I think it’s a little bit of a tired story of kind of just Uber and Lyft and so on and so forth and much more in such that they end up having a bigger, better life and that our partners increasingly can support and get behind as well because it helps them out as well.

So, it’s a little philosophical, and we can try to get a little more detail, but that’s at least the way we think about it.


Our next question comes from Deepak Mathivanan from Wolfe Research. Your line is now open.

Deepak MathivananWolfe Research — Analyst

Kind of a 2-quarter question on bookings growth. It was nice to see some acceleration in 3Q. But more broadly, how do you think about the market and sort of the industry growth for 2024? And then the second one related to that, Uber is seeing some benefits from new verticals inside ride share, kind of product like shared rides and also products like Reserve, how do you think about the opportunity for incremental growth from there? And maybe can you unpack some of the contribution from these products that you currently have at all?

Sonya BanerjeeHead of Investor Relations

Hey, Deepak. Really quickly. Sonya here. Can you actually hear us?

Deepak MathivananWolfe Research — Analyst

Yes, we can hear you.

Sonya BanerjeeHead of Investor Relations

OK. Awesome. Go ahead.

David RisherChief Executive Officer

OK. Sorry, a little technical glitch there. And my apologies, just as you were starting that question, we had a little technical thing on it. Can you just repeat the first part of that question one more time?

Deepak MathivananWolfe Research — Analyst

Yes. No, I was just asking about your expectations for industry growth in 2024 in the U.S. rideshare space.

David RisherChief Executive Officer

Yes. We probably — and Erin will chime in on this as well. Obviously, we’re not giving any longer-term guidance besides what we just gave for Q4. We’re still very much on track for what we call our long-range plan, LRP, but that will be the beginning of next year.

But I would just say, broadly speaking, we see a lot of reasons to be really optimistic about growth. let’s start with where we are today and then try to extrapolate a little bit. Again, just looking back the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen growth higher than we’ve ever seen in our corporate history, not just talking about sort of just going back to 2019, but literally since day 1. So, that’s super energizing.

Number two, we see some secular trends. Travel will continue to be a big growth driver. You’re seeing that across the sector. Commute will continue to be a big growth driver.

Again, you’re seeing that across the sector as people come back to work post pandemic. So, those are sort of secular trends. And then when you look at where we fit in, we really are again, we’re customer obsessed, right? So we’re really trying to take a look at large segments like women, for example, or like airport travel, which includes business travel, leisure travel and so forth and say how can we create more and more differentiated experiences that drive that incremental use and incremental frequency, right? And we all know this. I mean, heavy users of rideshare because you asked about the sector, they might use the service maybe a couple of times a month, that already gets to be a pretty heavy user.

And most people go to work three times a week, at least. Most people go to social activities a couple of times a week. So, in a lot of ways, I think we’re really underpenetrated in terms of how people can use us in their daily lives. So, again, I know maybe a tiny bit philosophical, but when we look at our 2024 trajectory, we feel super good.

Erin BrewerChief Financial Officer

Yes. The only thing I’d add to that, David, obviously, fully agree. As you think about our model, I think it’s important to note that as we get into Q2 of 2024, we will have anniversary-ed a couple of important things. First and foremost, that’s really the first full quarter where we operated competitively and in line with the market as it relates to our pricing strategy.

And it’s also the quarter, obviously, we in Q2 of the current year we enacted a cost restructuring program. So, as you think about 2024, Q2 2024 will be the quarter where we anniversary those two items.

Deepak MathivananWolfe Research — Analyst

Got it. And then the second part on contribution from products like shared ride right, and potentially something similar along the lines of Reserve, how do you think about that?

David RisherChief Executive Officer

Yes. So, in our world, we started shared ride back and I think it was 2019, 2018, something like that. Even further back, my apologies. But we actually found that it wasn’t a particularly great experience for riders or for drivers.

Riders didn’t like it so much because it feels like a sort of a diversion from where they’re going. They’re always taking a weird left turn and another weird left turn. And the drivers don’t love it because for drivers, the least enjoyable part of a ride is the pickup and drop-off. And so, it, of course, increases pickup and drop-off.

So, it’s an area that we’ve decided largely to sunset. There are a couple of use cases where we still use it, but it’s not a very consumer-facing product. And instead, we have Wait & Save, which allows people to wait or have a little bit more flexibility in return for getting some money off. And as I mentioned before, it’s a great product for us.

It represents anywhere between 25% and 30% of ride volumes something along there. Our — what Uber calls Reserve, that’s our scheduled ride product. And you’ll be hearing more about that tomorrow where we’re making an even stronger commitment to reliability on those so that when people use it, particularly go to the airport, they’ve got a great experience. I think there’s enormous upside there.

I think there are a lot of time in people’s lives where with a little bit of thought, reserving ahead of time can actually reduce the hassle and stress in their lives. And as I mentioned before, it has a slight premium price to it. It also has better economics for drivers as well, so they like it too. I’ll bring up one other thing since you mentioned kind of ride types.

We are just in the process — and again, we’ll be talking more about this tomorrow, but I’ll give you a preview today of launching a product called Extra Comfort. Extra Comfort is an affordable sort of higher-end ride. The cars are newer, the drivers are more experienced, the leg room is a little bit bigger, you can choose a quiet ride and so on and so forth. You’ll see it if you open up your Lyft app today in almost all of the country and tomorrow even more, you’ll see it.

And it’s priced at maybe $1 or $2 above the normal experience. But it’s a nicer experience. And you might think of it as comparable to Economy Plus in airlines, and if you follow the airline industry, you’ll know that that’s a crazy profit driver for them. It’s making up something — the prices are almost double economy.

And they’re selling out on us. So, we look at that as an area very customer-focused because it allows customers to have a little bit of an upgraded experience. A little better economics for us, a little bit higher-margin product and one that represents a very small part of our ride volume today and can grow over time.


Our next question comes from Eric Sheridan from Goldman Sachs. Your line is now open.

Eric SheridanGoldman Sachs — Analyst

Maybe just two if I could. In terms of capitalizing on the market opportunity when you look out to next year, David, I would love to get your sense of what you see as the mission-critical sort of two or three elements on either the product side or the investment side to continue some of the momentum, especially as you moved into an environment where you’ll be lapping some of the changes you’ve had to make to pricing this year. That would be number one. And then in terms of the Q4 adjusted EBITDA as a percentage of bookings.

Can you walk us through some of the headwinds and tailwinds we should be keeping in mind in the Q4 guidance that impact margin guidance, just so we better understand some of those velocities, both headwinds and tailwinds leave in 2023 into 2024, almost as a way to think about incremental margins going forward?

David RisherChief Executive Officer

Yes. Erin and I will tag team on this. I’ll start off, Eric. So, I think — I guess I would come back to differentiated products and services in 2024, and I’ll mention too again.

One, we’ve already talked about actually, which is Women+ Connect. That’s a new product for us. We just launched it in 50 new markets last week. By the beginning of next year or at the beginning of next year, we hope to roll that out nationwide.

Again, that’s not a small marketplace, right? We’re talking about roughly half the U.S. population. And if you looked — and I encourage you to do so, if you haven’t, on social media at the comments that we’re getting, they give you a pretty good indication of why we’re so excited about it. Literally, women riders saying, “I am in tears now because of what you’ve done.

I am so appreciative that this will allow me to feel more comfortable in a new city at a time of day, I don’t usually feel comfortable riding at a part of town where I’m not usually comfortable.” Or for drivers saying, “this is going to allow me to drive more or work with my friends to get them on the platform as a driver because it’s a great opportunity but I’m only using it for scheduled rides or airport rides right now because I just don’t feel comfortable or have not traditionally but Women+ Connect unlocks all of that.” So, I think that’s an existing product, but you’ll see us continue to pour gasoline on that bonfire because it’s — it’s great for riders and great for drivers, and obviously, you’ve tried ride volume and so forth. There are others, but I’m probably not in a good position to talk about them now because I don’t want to tell anyone else listening on the line. For drivers, similarly, anything we do for drivers that increases driver supply, it’s a big win. And I’ll give you an example of something that we’ve already launched.

So, it’s not competitive, but it’s such a great product. And frankly, it’s doing really well, which is — it’s called drive within the region, and it allows you as a driver to say, you know what, I need to be home by 7:00 tonight to have dinner or I need to be at my kid’s school, the 2:00 in the afternoon. to pick them up. And by — there are actually two different products.

One is basically allows you to pick a destination. The other allows you to pick a radius within which you’ll drive today. These are both innovations we’ve started over the last couple of months and they’re really picking up massive steam for drivers. In fact, actually, on a role here.

So, I’ll tell you one more for drivers, I think is super interesting. It’s called priority mode for drivers. And it allows drivers to — it gives drivers additional — you might call it ride flow. And in so doing, they actually tend to make more money per hour, which is really interesting.

Again, I can go into detail if you’re interested. But the drivers that we’ve offered that to, which tend to be our more loyal longer-term drivers absolutely love it and because it allows them to earn more money on the platform. So, these are all things — some of them are kind of in front of the curtain, and some of the look — but behind the curtain, but you add on them up and each one of them, I think, is a pretty significant growth driver. You talked about media.

Again, we can go more to detail about that. I’m sure maybe later in the conversation, we’ll also talk about AI and some of the opportunities that gives us. But I don’t think we feel at all constrained with ideas on that there are strong growth drivers. And I’ll say this because otherwise, Erin will raise her eyebrows at me.

We feel like we’ve got the right cost position to do this. We do not have to hire a much more people or do much more things like that. We’ve got a great, great team that’s doing amazing work. We just have to continue to focus on customers and driving more leverage on the platform.

Erin BrewerChief Financial Officer

And Eric, as it relates to your question on Q4 adjusted EBITDA margins as a percentage of gross bookings. What I would say are tailwinds as you think about this sequentially quarter over quarter, we talk about the health of our marketplace. That has definitely been a tailwind for us. It continues to improve, and we’ll continue to do so in our estimates here in the fourth quarter.

And we’ve got revenue going up in the fourth quarter, and operating expenses staying flat. So, there’s some leverage there. And then as it relates to the headwind, that is primarily reflecting that are the increases we’re expecting from our recent insurance contract renewals will fully flow through cost of revenue beginning at the start of the fourth quarter.


Our next question comes from Benjamin Black from Deutsche Bank. Your line is now open.

Benjamin BlackDeutsche Bank — Analyst

Perhaps one on Lyft Media, can you dig a little bit into sort of what the early takeaways have been? Where do you see the need to invest more to grow that business on the infrastructure side, sales force side, sort of more products. Really would be great to hear sort of how big you think the advertising business could become over sort of the medium to long term. And then one on sort of contra revenue. So, your competitor obviously spoke about favorable supply tailwind, which is supporting lower contra.

Curious to hear how you’re thinking about your current sort of driver incentive levels, how far we’ve been seeing a normalization here? And is there anything you can do or work from an operational standpoint that could structurally lower driver incentive spend per trip?

David RisherChief Executive Officer

Yes, Benjamin, I’ll take the first, and Erin will take the second. It will be another tag team. So, yes, let’s talk media for a second because it’s such an interesting opportunity. And we’ll start super big picture.

Today, if you’re a brand and you’re trying to come up with a new way to sort of speak with your customers, gosh, the online world has gotten a little bit small for you. You can buy Google Ad Words and they’ll charge you for the test. And you can do some stuff on Meta, for example. But if you really want to go over your customer, you’re probably not as excited about Twitter anymore, sorry, editorial comment there.

But anyway, these are the things that kind of brands are looking at. And yes, we know that our younger generations are super brand focused and very responsive to brands. So, people are looking for new areas. Now TikTok, of course, is doing a lot of work there, and they’re having a huge amount of success.

But if you think about the experience that a rider has when they open up the app, they start to look for a ride. What have they told us? They’ve told us not only where they’re going from, but where they’re going to. And then they’ve effectively told us that they’re going to spend 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 15, 20 minutes in a sort of captive situation in a place where they’re not got a lot going on aside from just kind of looking out the car window. So, we have four products that we use and I’ll go through them super briefly.

So, first, we’ve got the in-app ads. In-app ads start literally as you request a ride and you go through what we call a ride matching screen, which might take 15 to 30 seconds or so. We’re serving on about 70% of those requests right now, we’re serving in-app ads. And our goal there is that those ads — those ads be relevant and interesting, right? We’re not interested in a [Inaudible] experience.

In fact, exactly the opposite. What we’re seeing is very high [Inaudible] rate. We’re not going to talk about the numbers just yet, but they’ve been really nice to see. And we’re also seeing something very interesting and what we were hoping for, but weren’t necessarily expecting, was the cancellation rates tend to go down.

In other words, as people have something else to do besides sit around and kind of wait they actually spend time interacting with that ad rather than canceling the ride. So that’s super exciting for us. It’s a win-win. Then you get in the car.

Now in the car, two things happen. Number one, you still got the app on your phone. And people maybe to a surprising degree to check the app as they’re headed to their destination, so that gives us another ad service. But also increasingly, we’re putting tablets in cars.

We’ve got about 8,000 screens right now in cars that’s spread across 14 markets. And what they do is they give us the opportunity, of course, for the ride, they can map their progress to their destination, and they can give the driver a tip and these other sorts of things, but we also have advertising there. Apple has been a very strong advertiser there as an example, and they react, right? They’re liking what they’re seeing. And we can understand why when we look at the data.

That’s super exciting. And again, we want those ads to be great. Nothing like the taxi things you can see in the U.S., in New York, which are not so great. I will also say, as a quick aside, drivers participate in the economics of those tablets as well.

And so, when you were getting served an ad as a rider, you’re also contributing to the driver and the driver of course appreciates that, and that makes them more willing to drive for [Inaudible], which is wonderful. The third thing, which you might have seen, particularly in New York City, are the rooftops, the visual rooftop screen. A number of different organizations have these. We think our screen happens to be one of the best in terms of its resolution, in terms of its cost, its ease of use, its repairability and so on and so forth.

We’ve got about 1,000 screens right now, and we’ll see that grow over time, which allows really interesting — imagine a citywide takeover. Of course, they’re all digital. So, you can blast out movie premiere across an entire city in a matter of hours. And then the fourth, because of our TBS business, any time you see a bike station, a docking station, you’ll see a panel next to it.

Some of those are analog, old school. Some of those are digital, new school. Over time, of course, more would be digital as we electrify and we’ve got some really interesting work going on there for example, in Chicago, but that’s another ad service. And imagine, again, that city takeover of a movie premiere.

So, I know there’s a lot of detail, but that maybe gives you a sense of the scope of our ambition. If you think of the scale of this, advertising is a multibillion-dollar sort of opportunity. Not that I’m just talking about for us, but I’m talking about this type of advertising that I think it’s still in its early days. For us, it’s fairly small, but it’s up, I think 4x year on year, and we really what’s going.

Erin BrewerChief Financial Officer

Yes. And I’ll take the question on contra revenue incentives. I might start with, if you don’t mind, bragging on our marketplace team a little bit. This is the team that manages this piece of our business every day.

And clearly, since we’ve pivoted to the focus on competitively — pricing competitively with the market, etc. I think that team has just delivered masterfully. Keep in mind that we operate one of the most complex sort of real-time dynamic marketplaces that exist out there. And so, as a consequence, we are going to be making dynamic decisions as it relates to both driver and rider incentives.

But to give you a sense on the performance that that team has delivered from a — from a contra revenue per incentive perspective, we have become more efficient per ride in Q2, again in Q3. We expect that to continue to get more efficient in Q4. So, they’ve just done a masterful job at getting supply where it needs to be, doing a great job for drivers about sort of predicting the time and the places where we will see demand. And so, I want to give that team a ton of credit.

That being said, again, there’s a dynamic nature here. So, while on a contra revenue incentive in Q3 that got — that definitely got more efficient. For example, on the rider side, we spent a little bit more, again, in a very targeted way, supporting our back-to-school efforts, which David highlighted. So, that piece of the incentive structure is still quite small.

It’s less than 5% of revenue. But I highlight that just to give you a sense of how we will make those decisions in a reasonably dynamic way. But I’m really pleased with where we are overall in terms of the continued health in our marketplace and the balance that we see there.


Our next question comes from Michael [Inaudible]. Your line is now open.

Unknown speaker

For the question and also the additional disclosures, I was wondering your competitor has spoken to 1P insuring — self-insuring versus 3P model. I would love to hear maybe a little bit about the pros and cons of each strategy and how you think about that going forward? When we did the meet and greet in the Bay Area, you spoke about it a little bit, keeping the insurance companies honest. But that would be great to learn a little bit more about how you’re approaching that.

Erin BrewerChief Financial Officer

Sure. For a number of years, what I would say is that we’ve had a mix — a portion of our book that is self-insured and then a mix where we contract with third parties through relationships that extend over many, many partners we’ve been with for many, many years. And so, we always look at this from a number of dimensions. One, obviously, ensuring that we are getting the best and most competitive rates.

We now have about 10 years of data across the marketplace. I think that helps give us a really informed point of view and set of previous experience, that helps us make smart decisions. We like the mix that we have today. Certainly, in terms of the portion of our book that we contract with third parties, that gives us certainty as it relates to cash flow.

And so, having that — having that mix, we think, is a good portion of our business. So, I wouldn’t expect that that total mix might move by a few percentage points on any given point in time in our renewal cycle. But I think overall, we’re pretty pleased with the mix that we have, and we think it’s a very, very competitive structure.

Unknown speaker

I forgot to ask, are you able to quantify like what percentage of total booking, taxes, and tolls are?

Erin BrewerChief Financial Officer

The total pass-through as a percentage of total bookings, is that what you’re asking, Michael?

Unknown speaker


Erin BrewerChief Financial Officer

That’s roughly 10%.


Our next question comes from John Blackledge from TD Cowen. Your line is now open.

John BlackledgeTD Cowen Research — Analyst

Two questions. First, could you talk about Lyft’s competitive position in the third quarter in any geos where you might have seen some share gains? And then second, just any further color on the growth on the West Coast and kind of where it is, where the ride volume is relative to pre-pandemic levels.

David RisherChief Executive Officer

Yes. I’ll say a little bit about the second and actually, Sonya you’ll have to remind me. But West Coast grew fastest. I think it was actually our fastest-growing region in the third quarter.

And I think a lot of that — some of that was focused execution, frankly. We actually doubled down in a couple of markets to understand how to continue to grow those markets. Some of it’s also secular. The West Coast has lagged a little bit in back to work.

But we see that coming across super strongly. I don’t think we’ll talk too much about the other regional stuff unless someone else in the room has anything stronger to say there. Yes. The only thing I would just say generally is — it’s very interesting.

Lyft is both a North American ride share platform, of course. But it’s also a very local rideshare platform. And so, we every week, we give you a little peek behind the curtain in our operational, we call it a weekly business review meeting, we really go all the way, we helicopter all the way up to what we see macro all the way down to the micro, what’s going on in region A or region B and why might things be moving in unexpected directions. So, the way we run the business is very much at levels.

But I think rather than going to more detail, we’ll just kind of leave it there.


This concludes our question-and-answer session. I will now turn the call back to the CEO, David Risher, for any closing comments.

David RisherChief Executive Officer

For sure. Thank you so much. And let me find my notes here. Yes.

Thanks for joining us all. That’s the main thing I wanted to say. I want to say a huge thank you to the Lyft team. Erin mentioned the marketplace team, but they’re not alone.

When you look at what we’ve been able to talk about today, it’s only because of the amazing work so many of our team members have done, hugely, hugely appreciate that. We’re a super customer obsessed. I think you heard us say that a whole bunch of times. Our focus is on creating a customer-obsessed financially healthy business.

And our basic thesis is that customer session is what drives our profitable growth. We’re really excited about the momentum we’ve seen and the growth we’ve seen in this past quarter, and we’re looking forward to updating you on our business and progress in the new year. So, thank you to all.


[Operator signoff]

Duration: 0 minutes

Call participants:

Sonya BanerjeeHead of Investor Relations

David RisherChief Executive Officer

Erin BrewerChief Financial Officer

Mark MahaneyEvercore ISI — Analyst

Doug AnmuthJPMorgan Chase and Company — Analyst

Brian NowakMorgan Stanley — Analyst

Ken GawrelskiWells Fargo Securities — Analyst

Deepak MathivananWolfe Research — Analyst

Eric SheridanGoldman Sachs — Analyst

Benjamin BlackDeutsche Bank — Analyst

Unknown speaker

John BlackledgeTD Cowen Research — Analyst

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