Weekly News Roundup


Uber and Lyft Achieve Record Popularity
For the fist time since 2015, ride hailing services Uber and Lyft have appeared on more than 16 percent of business traveler expense reports, a new study by Certify shows.

Certify’s second quarter 2019 SpendSmart report aggregates expenses and highlights the most popular airline, meal, lodging, and transportation services by North American companies and business travelers. The company, which offers online spend management services for companies of all sizes, analyzes more than 10 million expenses submitted by business travelers each quarter.

Uber continued to control the ride hailing market, taking the largest percentage of expenses in eight major metropolitan areas. Uber use was up in the second quarter of 2019 from the same time last year in all but Atlanta, Dallas and Los Angeles. The number of receipts declined there. Lyft was up nearly across the board. San Francisco and Boston were the only cities showing a decline.

Taxi use decreased compared with the second quarter of 2018 even as cities approved ride-hailing regulations meant to level the playing field.

Uber was the most expensed vendor with 12.71 percent of expenses compared with Lyft, which had 3.75 percent of expenses, finishing third overall. Starbucks was the second most expensed vendor with 4.01 percent. Amazon (3.63 percent) and Delta (3.56 percent) finished fourth and fifth.

Uber, which went public in May, was responsible for 72.8 percent of all ride hailing transactions in the second quarter of 2019. Lyft held 21.57 percent of receipts, a slight increase over the same time last year. Taxis accounted for the remaining 5.63 percent of ride hailing transactions.

The average cost of an Uber ride remained steady at $25.37 per ride and $25.51 for Lyft. Taxis once again were the most expensive option, with an average transaction of $36.17.

After five consecutive quarters as the top-rated ride hailing service, Lyft earned 4.4 stars out of a five-star customer rating system, falling behind Uber’s average rating of 4.6 stars.

Business travelers continued to utilize food delivery services. Grubhub topped the list at 27.39 percent of all transactions compared to 23.88 percent for DoorDash, 21.72 percent for Uber Eats, 12.34 percent for Postmates, 9.03 percent for Caviar, and 5.64 percent for Seamless.

Seamless was the most expensive food delivery service, with an average cost of $133.26 compared to $103.83 for Caviar, $64.53 for Grubhub, $63.41 for DoorDash, $60.91 for Postmates, and $30.19 for Uber Eats. DoorDash was the highest-rated service, scoring 4.9 stars out of five stars. Caviar and Uber Eats tied with 4.6 stars.

As for hotels, Marriott topped Hampton Inn as the most expensed lodging option with 10.3 percent of receipts over Hampton’s 8.99 percent.

Delta was the most expensed airline, earning 19.57 percent of all category transactions, compared to 18.83 percent for American Airlines.

JetBlue tied with Southwest Airlines as the top-rated airline vendor, with an average user rating of 4.6 stars.

“Our latest report shows just how ingrained sharing economy services have become among businesses and business travelers,” said Robert Neveu, CEO of Certify. “It’s been clear for a long time that business travelers preferred Uber and Lyft to taxis, but the rise of on-demand food delivery and scooter services really underscores how important convenience is to the business travel community.”

United Wants to Make Sure Passengers Make their Connections

United Airlines is expanding its internal ConnectionSaver software, which finds passengers who are late for their connecting flights. It gives the airline the data to figure out if it can hold a plane for a passenger without inconveniencing others on the flight.

United launched the service at its Chicago and Denver hubs in February. It expanded to Los Angeles International Airport and Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport this summer. San Francisco International Airport will get it August 6 and Dulles International Airport in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan airport will have it August 13.

Passengers will get text alerts on their mobile phones and through the United app letting them know their flight situation. It will let them know how long it will take to get to their gates.

Southwest pulls out of Newark

Southwest Airlines is pulling out of Newark Liberty International Airport in the New York City area because of ongoing cancellations of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft.

The carrier’s CEO Gary Kelly, in a second quarter earnings report last week, said that the company’s finances were below expectations because of the grounding of the jets after two deadly crashes overseas on other airlines.

Southwest flights will end at Newark after November 3. Employees will have the option of moving to LaGuardia Airport in Queens, New York, or elsewhere.

Nancy Trejos is covering industry news for GBTA. She has been a journalist for more than two decades, covering various subjects and traveling all around the world. She was a business and leisure travel writer at USA TODAY from November 2012 to January 2019, writing about destinations, business travel, hotels, airlines, rental cars, and the sharing economy. Previously, she spent 13 years at The Washington Post covering travel, personal finance, education, and the war in Iraq. She is the author of the personal finance memoir "Hot Broke Messes: How to Have your Latte and Drink it Too." She has also worked for the Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press and was a contributor at Latina magazine. She graduated from Georgetown University and lives in New York City.

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