Uber Hits One Billionth Ride, Gifts Free Year

Rapidly expanding car service startup Uber says it has driven its 1 billionth ride. Launched in June 2010, it took the company 5.5 years to reach this milestone.

Uber trip number 1 billion took place in London on Christmas Eve. The company says that the lucky rider, Marvin, has been gifted free Uber for a year (up to £10,000).

To further commemorate this benchmark, driver Ara has been given an all-expense paid trip to the Uber city of his choice. Uber will also be donating to Hackney Pirates, a charity serving the neighborhood where the billionth trip started.

It pays to be one-in-a-billion, right? But the big b-word is normally associated with Uber’s valuation, which is said to be approaching $65 billion.

So does this mean each Uber ride has been worth $65? Well, not exactly. Uber’s long list of investors are valuing the company on its future potential. But it does put its valuation into perspective.

While Uber has been gaining traction, this announcement comes on the heels of competitor Sidecar throwing in the towel. Lyft and Didi Kuaidi are growing regional players, but few Uber-clones have been able to make a dent in Uber’s rapid ascent to global car service dominance.

Uber has been successful at getting drivers to sign up for its service and balancing supply and demand. But because the on-demand app has been taking market share from taxis and other transportation businesses, Uber has also been facing regulatory obstacles from around the world.

Now available in 68 countries and 370 cities, it’s possible that Uber’s two billionth ride will happen before the end of 2016. Just don’t expect its IPO to happen by then.