Uber launches service in Calgary with Winnipeg to follow


Starting today, people living in Calgary will be able to see what all the Uber fuss is about.

The San Francisco-based company announced today that Calgary has become the latest city where the service on-demand car service is available. The service begins taking ride requests at 2 p.m local time. City residents will be able to take their first UberX ride for free.

Incidentally, Calgary is the hometown of Uber co-founder Garrett Camp, who is also the company’s current chairman.

To the east, the company Garret co-founded has also set its sights on Winnipeg.

On Wednesday, Chris Schafer, Uber’s public policy manager, met with Mayor Brian Bowman and other city officials to discuss the company’s entry into the city.

Uber doesn’t have an exact timeline for when it wants to begin operations in Winnipeg, but when it does arrive, it will certainly face opposition from the city’s cab drivers. In September, two of the city’s main taxi brokerages, Duffy’s Taxi and Unicity Taxi, formed the Winnipeg Taxi Alliance in an attempt to derail the company’s expansion plans.

For its part, Uber says it can co-exist with taxi brokerages.

“We don’t look at taxi as a competitor. Frankly it’s a complementary service, but more principally we’ve got our eyes focused on a bigger competitor and that’s the personal automobile, and through new choices that are safe, affordable and reliable, giving people an opportunity to live car-free or car-lite lifestyles,” said Schafer in an interview with the CBC.

Like Toronto, Winnipeg also has a mayor that has gone on record with his support for Uber. “Look, I have long been a champion for increased innovation, new technologies and crowd sourcing,” he told the CBC. However, Bowman later stated that it was ultimately up to Winnipeg’s Taxicab Board whether Uber is allowed to operate in the city.

Uber has seemingly redoubled its efforts in Canada over the past week. This morning, the company launched a new promotion with Air Miles where Canadians have a chance to earn up to 15,000 points when they take a ride with Uber.

[source]CBC, Newswire[/source]