Lyft rides recover slightly in August, remain down 53% from last year

FILE PHOTO: An empty Lyft pick-up area is shown in Los Angeles, California, U.S., August 20, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Blake

(Reuters) - Ride-hailing firm Lyft Inc said on Tuesday that its trips rose 7.3% in August from July as operations in Canada recovered faster than in the United States.

But the novel coronavirus pandemic is still crushing demand with overall August rides down 53% compared to a year earlier, said the company, which operates in the U.S. and Canada only.

Trips had dropped as much as 80% during the height of the coronavirus outbreak in April.

Lyft on Tuesday said it used fewer driver incentives in August as more drivers returned to service and said it expects lower incentive spending in the third quarter.

Lyft’s President John Zimmer in May said Americans will turn to ride hailing as the first opportunity to make up for lost income as the U.S. economy reopens, with the oversupply in drivers allowing the company to cut costs.

Lyft expects adjusted loss for the third quarter to not exceed $265 million.

The company on Tuesday also said it has increased spending on Proposition 22, a November ballot measure in California which seeks to reverse a contested state law that forces gig economy companies to treat their workers as employees.

Lyft, Uber Technologies Inc, DoorDash Inc and Instacart each spent an additional $17.5 million on the measure, bringing total funding for the campaign to $181 million, according to a public state filing on Friday.

Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru, Tina Bellon in New York; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Grant McCool