Calgary taxis lose market share to ride-hailing companies, city data shows

With another year of data collected on what's happening in the Calgary transportation market, it's clear that Uber and other ride-hailing companies have carved out a significant chunk of business.

City says number of trips taken by taxi and transportation network companies topped 10M in 2018

City data shows taxi companies losing market share to ride-hailing companies. (CBC)

With another year of data collected on what's happening in the Calgary transportation market, it's clear that Uber and other ride-hailing companies have carved out a significant chunk of business here.

The city says the number of trips taken by taxi and transportation network companies (TNCs) topped 10 million in 2018.

Just under 60 per cent of those trips were done by taxis, while 40 per cent were completed by TNC drivers.

The total number of trips is up 35 per cent from just a couple of years ago, prior to TNCs becoming legal.

The city's chief livery inspector Abdul Rafih said the market has grown since ride-hailing companies like Uber were approved for operation.

The city's chief livery inspector, Abdul Rafih, says the TNC market in Calgary continues to grow. (Scott Dippel/CBC)

"Did they take a slight bite out of the taxi pool?  Yes, they did," said Rafih. 

"But on the whole, trips are increasing and Calgarians are opting for more options [other than taxis]."

People taking more trips

At the same time the number of trips in total has increased since Uber arrived, TNCs have grown their share of the market.

In 2017, TNCs accounted for 2.2 million trips which made up nearly 25 per cent of the total paid trips.

In 2018, the number of TNC trips jumped to more than four million, topping 40 per cent of all for-hire trips.

Meanwhile, taxi companies have seen the number of trips drop over the last four years from nearly 7.5 million to just over six million.

"Taxis have seen a decrease in the number of trips. Obviously the TNC market  is continuing to grow," said Rafih.

Taxi companies not shrinking, though

Despite the decrease in business, the taxi industry remains about the same size.

There are approximately 4,500 taxi drivers in Calgary, working in 1,881 taxis.

There are about 4,100 people licensed to drive for TNCs.

However, Rafih said there are a few people that work for both a taxi company and a TNC.

"Our department, through Calgary Community Standards, licenses all drivers and we do have a number of drivers who work for both platforms. So some may work for taxis during the day and then at night work for TNCs."

He said that if paying customers have any concerns about taxis, ride-hailing services or drivers, they can ask questions or file complaints with the city through its 311 line.

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