A new study by the New York-based Next Big Futures company says the ride-hailing company may have underestimated the number of drivers it would need to support in the United States in the next two decades.
Uber is facing a growing backlash over the company’s practices in California, where it has operated a fleet of drivers for the past year and a half.
On Tuesday, Uber also announced it was pulling its California drivers from the state, citing a lack of demand and increasing safety concerns.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said in a statement that Uber drivers will remain in California for “an indefinite period of time,” but that it would not be able afford to continue supporting the state.
“We will never be a sustainable business in California,” Kalanicks statement said.
“With the state and local governments taking steps to further regulate Uber, we need to remain on top of our game.
We can only make this happen by doing everything we can to keep our drivers as part of the transportation system, which we are doing.”
The Next Big Trends study says that the demand for Uber drivers has been “substantially outpacing the supply of drivers” and that there will be a “significant increase in demand for driver-partnership services in the coming years.”
The study also said that Uber’s “demand-based pricing model has been successful for the vast majority of its drivers.”
However, the study says, the company has not yet fully implemented its demand-based model in California.
“The demand for drivers is so large that it will take a substantial investment to sustain the current level of demand for the foreseeable future,” the study states.
“While Uber has said that it is committed to ensuring that drivers remain part of its driver pool, the drivers that Uber currently provides will not be available in the foreseeable past.”
Next Big Technologies’ study says it will be “truly devastating” if Uber is forced to pull its drivers from California.
In its statement, the group said that the company is currently “reviewing all of the details of this policy, including the effect on the workforce, the environment and our overall sustainability, and we will share any changes we make as soon as they are available.”
Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Uber has faced several challenges in California in the last few years.
In 2016, Uber lost a court case against the city of Los Angeles and was ordered to pay more than $2.3 million in damages.
In 2018, Uber was sued for violating California’s Fair Employment Practices Act by refusing to pay employees at one of its carpool service centers who complained about poor customer service.