Uber says it needs more drivers to keep up with demand in Calgary

Uber is trying to lure more drivers as it tries to keep up with what it says is 'through the roof' demand.

Ride-hailing company recently re-launched in the city after a lengthy regulatory battle

The ride-hailing service Uber recently re-launched in Calgary after a lengthy regulatory battle. (Sarah Lawrynuik/CBC)

Uber is trying to lure more drivers as it tries to keep up with what it says is "through the roof" demand. 

The ride hailing service, which re-launched in Calgary on Dec. 6 after a lengthy regulatory battle with the city, would not specify how many drivers it currently employs. 

"We're well into the hundreds," said  Ramit Kar, the general manager for Uber Western Canada. 

When asked whether that meant 200 or closer to 900, Kar declined to specify.

"We don't necessarily give that information right up front, but we're trying to grow that day on day," he said. 

Some frustrations

When Uber first launched in Calgary last year, it said there were 500 "driver partners" operating in the city. 

Some on social media were expressing frustration at how difficult it is to get a ride with Uber. 

Regulations in place

Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he's pleased Uber is operating in Calgary now that there is a regulatory system in place to govern its operation. (CBC)

Mayor Naheed Nenshi, who led the charge against Uber operating in the city without a regulatory system in place to govern ride-hailing companies and drivers, said he hopes the drivers and the company do well in the city. 

Nenshi was standing with Kar as the company dropped off goods during a staged media event for the mayor's food bank drive.

"We clearly wanted to make sure that we had a regulatory system that met the needs of Calgarians, as well as met the needs of market entrance, and I'm very happy that we know have such a system in place," he said. 

Undercover operation

Prior to the re-launch, the city had said it wanted to discuss the possibility of Uber paying for an undercover operation undertaken by the city to catch drivers operating without city permission. 

"We're in continuing discussions on that specifically, so we haven't come to any resolutions yet, but that's a continuing discussion right now," said Kar.

Those hoping to catch a ride from the airport will have to rely on taxi service, as Uber is not available at that location. 


  • A previous version of this story incorrectly suggested only eight cars were available in Calgary at 5:20 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon. The Uber app only displays a maximum of eight cars in a given area.
    Dec 13, 2016 7:13 PM MT