Re: How does it run a loss?
>It has an app instead of bricks and mortar premises, and has a fleet of hire-and-fire owner drivers.
The app needs developers, as Uber hasn't mastered the art of running large virtual teams, they need somewhere to work. Additionally, Uber is a traditional American company, so it needs a large HQ - to impress the investors. So it most definitely has bricks and mortar premises, just not of the type traditional taxi operations possess.
The fleet of hire-and-fire owner drivers cost money, this is one of the cost areas Uber (and others) are hoping driverless vehicles will enable them to save money.
Additionally, the app doesn't run without backend servers etc., which require monthly payments to keep them running and bricks and mortar premises - even if they are "someone elses".
Basically, Uber have significant overheads that mean they are unable to be profitable if they charge the same (or lower) fares than the existing market operators. I seem to remember the price premium for the app was around £4 per fare.