Uber has not operated in Calgary for months, but a majority of the city’s residents would welcome the ride-sharing service back. That’s according to an Insights West poll that was commissioned by the company and released on Friday.
Since leaving Calgary by choice, Uber has been seeking ways to negotiate a deal with the government to return to the city. Uber decided to commission the survey to show there is a consumer desire to have the company back in Calgary. The online poll shows that 85 per cent of respondents welcome the return of Uber.
Reflecting its image as a Millennials service, 98 per cent of the supporters were aged 18-to-34. However, Uber has long painted itself as a service for everyone, and other age demographics would also support a reintroduction in Calgary. 84 per cent of 35- to 54-year-olds claimed support and 77 per cent of those aged 55 and older. Single people were also 92 per cent in favor.
“Clearly, Calgarians are very supportive of Uber’s return to Calgary,” said Mario Canseco, vice-president of public affairs at Insights West.
“In today’s tough economic conditions, Uber is regarded as a positive presence for both riders and drivers.”
Uber first launched in Calgary during October 2015. It was illegally operating in the city and was met with staunch opposition from authorities, with the government taking an injunction against the company. As Canadian municipalities warmed to the economic benefits of the sharing industry, Calgary drew up bylaws to accommodate Uber and companies of its type.
However, the US-based company disagreed with some stipulations and decided it could not viably operate in Calgary, so left the market entirely. Since then, there have been rumors of a deal between Uber and the government to see the company return.
While negotiations have undoubtedly been happening, the taxi industry does not believe Uber should be given special treatment. The biggest critic of the company, the traditional cab industry says other sharing companies have managed to operate within Calgary’s regulations, so Uber should do the same and not be given concessions to return.
The city council will vote today on a new fee structure that could see Uber return to the market.