I found out about ride-sharing when Uber made its short-lived debut in Calgary October of last year. I was super excited about it because I thought it was a brilliant idea! My partner and I even dabbled about making it one of our side-hustles. (My partner is a major car-guy so if there was any way we can make some money back from our four vehicles, I’m all over it!)
Sadly, Uber was axed by the city due to various complicated and dramatic reasons I would rather not discuss here. Suffice it to say there were groups of people who were not very happy with Uber rocking the boat in the ride-hailing industry.
Uber was not able to come to a workable agreement with Calgary. However, Edmonton was successful in implementing Uber into their city. What gives Calgary? I love you but I think you’re being backward when it comes to this matter! #YYC4UBER
But fear not! The ride-sharing industry IS growing in Canada!
What you need to know about ride-sharing in Canada
As of right now, there are only 14 cities across the country offering ride-sharing services – all major urban cities. LowestRates.ca pulled together this great infographic to show you what’s up Canada:
Here are the 14 cities:
|1. Calgary||8. Guelph|
|2. Edmonton||9. Waterloo|
|3. Toronto / GTA||10. Kitchener|
|4. Ottawa||11. Niagara|
|5. Montreal||12. Windsor|
|6. Quebec City||13. Hamilton|
|7. London||14. Kingston|
LowestRates does a great job explaining the difficulties ride-sharing companies are having implanting themselves next to existing ride-hailing services (I’m looking at you taxi industry), the legalities of this type of service and what’s next for ride-sharing companies in Canada. I recommend you go on over there and read for yourself.As you can see, the market is still quite small and there’s still room for a lot of growth but that depends entirely on how receptive our cities choose to be.
Must Read: Ride-sharing in Canada: It’s Complicated
Ride-sharing is freakin’ awesome!
I am 100% in full support of allowing ride-sharing companies to operate in my city. I think they are awesome and I believe this for several reasons.
- The taxi industry needs to be shaken up.
- Ride-sharing companies threaten the taxi industry. Ride-sharing companies offer competitive prices and, some say, far friendlier service from the drivers.
- It challenges the taxi industry to step up their game.
- Must Read: Disrupting the Cab: Uber, Ride-sharing and the Taxi Industry
- Must Read: Taxi companies facing new rideshare competition (Calgary Sun) – TappCar
- It makes for a great side-hustle.
- Calgary is a car-loving city and many of us own and drive our own vehicles (our economy is heavily dependent on the oil and gas industry after all and our city not being as “public transportation-friendly” as others may be a blessing in this case). Why not try to make some extra dollars for doing something we do everyday? And connect with new people to boot!
- Also did you hear about that guy who offers “Pokémon safaris”, where he drives Pokémon Go players around the city while they ‘catch them all’? How smart is he?
- It’s convenient.
- Everything is done on the app – booking service, tracking where the driver/passenger are and payments are all handled via the app.
- No more waiting on hold on the phone for a cab, waiting in line at taxi stations or trying to hail a cab from the street.
- It’s innovative and “with the times”.
- Like Netflix to Blockbuster, it’s a forward moving service. You either adapt with the flow or die fighting.
- Technology-loving millennials will jump on board. It just fits in naturally with our lifestyle today. Anyone can go on their smartphones, hit a few buttons and find a ride in minutes.
- It can be environmentally friendly.
- Fewer cars on the road = less pollution and less overall consumption of resources (less gas, less car maintenance… the list goes on!)
- It can be a safer alternative…
- …to driving drunk, crashing at a friend’s place until sober or taking a taxi.
- …because the ride-sharing company usually screens all users of the app (passengers and drivers) and allow users to provide feedback on their trip experiences. This affects how much a driver can make with the app, obviously the higher your rating, the higher the chances you’ll be able to drive for pay. And it also affects your chances of being able to find a ride as a passenger – the nicer you are, the higher the likelihood someone will give you a ride.
Let’s talk about the downsides…
As with everything, there are the pros and the cons. Here are some cons to ride-sharing companies.
- Drivers have little control over how much they can make.
- Because the ride-sharing company dictates how much to charge for trips AND they take a cut of the pay.
- Drivers still pay for their own overhead expenses.
- Drivers are responsible for their own gas and car maintenance.
- They are only paid when they’re driving the passenger to their destination – not for the driver’s trip to pick up the passenger or their trip after dropping off the passenger.
- Cities and insurance companies still don’t know how to handle ride-sharing companies.
- Insurance-wise, ride-share drivers fall under an entirely different category from personal auto insurance or insurance for taxi drivers. Insurance companies will need to adapt accordingly.
- Cities will need to reconcile differences between ride-sharing companies and existing ride-hailing services. We know how well this is going.
- It is only available in major urban cities.
- Per the LowestRates infographic, ride-sharing companies are not available everywhere and only in areas where there are big populations and huge tourist numbers. So small cities and towns are out of luck… for now.
- They operate via smartphones and require users to have a bank account or credit card linked to their accounts.
- So if you don’t use a smart phone or are not technologically savvy and if you don’t have a bank account or credit card to your name, it will be difficult to benefit from ride-sharing companies… although, the number of people in this category gets smaller and smaller everyday.
Although ride-sharing in Canada is still in its “baby stages”, I think this industry will only grow from where it is. It’s here to stay and will add variety to the ride-hailing services we currently enjoy (or not in some situations).
I’m particularly excited about the possibility of making extra cash from ride-sharing services. It’s a great side hustle to get into for those who already own a car – using something you’re already paying for and possibly meeting some great people while you’re at it.
I, for one, will be looking into using this service more – starting with TappCar (the only approved ride-share service in my city so far) next time I enjoy a night out downtown. I’ll also consider it next time I travel to a place where they offer such services (like many cities in the US who seem to be much more chummy with these types of companies than Canada is being right now). Who knows, I may even go as far as driving for TappCar… or Uber if they ever decide to try Calgary again.
What are your thoughts about ride-sharing companies? Have you used them before either as a driver or passenger? Where do you think the future of ride-sharing companies is headed?