Masiello explains that as the number of passengers and drivers grow, an individual driver is likely to be closer to a rider, leading to shorter pick-up times and more paying passengers. Uber's policy research director also asserted that new features like uberPOOL have meant longer trips, while incentives to drive during the busiest times help drivers to earn more.
"So although the Times article suggests that Uber's interest is misaligned with drivers', the opposite is true: it's in our interest to ensure that drivers have a paying passenger as often as possible because they're more likely to keep using our app to earn money. (And Uber doesn't earn money until drivers do)," Masiello said.
Uber's blog post said that the Times' graphic has two "flaws". Firstly, it treats demand as fixed, which "cuts against a fundamental tenet of transportation economics: if you make a service more compelling and convenient, you attract more demand." Secondly, it assumes that the number of drivers on the road is fixed and set by Uber. But "neither is true", Masiello wrote.
"If we were able to impose a situation where 80 percent of drivers' time was idle, drivers would leave the platform in droves to work with competitors—or leave ridesharing altogether," the blog post said.
The New York Times was not available for comment when contacted by CNBC.