After two months in Halifax, the car service Uber has only a couple of cars on the road but the company remains optimistic about its future in the city.
The U.S.-based car service allows people to summon rides at the touch of a button. The app shows a moving map with tiny Uber cars driving on nearby streets. In Toronto or Montreal, there are six or eight cars in any neighbourhood. In Halifax, there are two cars for the entire city.
"In my judgement, that's not successful. And maybe it says something about Maritimers," says Dan Shaw, a marketing professor at Dalhousie University.
Uber has found success in the U.S., offering on-demand limo services at a higher cost than a taxi.
Shaw says it's possible Haligonians feel less need for a fancy ride.
"Even our business leaders here drive Fords and dress down, in some cases. So there's not a significant point of differentiation," he says.
Jeff Weshler, general manager of regional expansion with Uber Canada, won't say how many cars Uber has in Halifax or how many he hopes to recruit.
"We're still really early on in Halifax. We're continuously growing and we're working hard to keep up with the demand, which is just tremendous for this product," he says.
In Toronto and Montreal, the Uber app can be used to call a traditional taxi.
Weshler says Uber is open to that possibility in Halifax.