Bigger Uber vehicles hit Calgary streets, with luxury options around the corner

Uber users in Calgary now have some bigger options.

SUVs and minivans available to tranport larger groups

Uber users in Calgary now have larger options, with SUVs and minivans. A luxury service is also set to launch in coming weeks or months. (Jeff Chiu/The Associated Press)

Uber users in Calgary now have some bigger options.

"Calgarians have really taken to Uber in the last few months and so we have been able to pull forward quite a few of our product launches, one being Uber XL today," western Canada general manager Ramit Kar told The Homestretch on Wednesday.

Users of the popular ride-hailing service will now be able to choose larger vehicles, like an SUV or minivan, using the existing app.

"If someone is going out on a Friday night or to a hockey game in a large group, now they don't have to take two separate Ubers, they can all go into one car," said Kar.

Someone heading to the airport with a lot of luggage would be a good fit for the new service as well, he added.

Ramit Kar, general manager for Uber western Canada, says Calgarians have really embraced the ride-hailing service so it's now expanding. (Supplied by Uber/Christopher Dilts)

While the San Francisco-based Uber operates in hundreds of cities worldwide, it had a rocky start in Calgary.

The service launched in Calgary in October 2015 but cars were pulled from the streets just a month later after the city applied for an injunction to prevent ride-hailing services from operating until the city could update bylaws around safety, insurance and regulatory requirements.

Uber said it could not operate after the city drafted a new bylaw the following February.

In April, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi was caught on tape while on a business trip in Boston calling the Uber CEO a "dick."

The city later realized how popular the service was with Calgarians and arrived at an agreement that saw Uber re-enter the market last December.

It's been so popular the company struggled to attract enough drivers.

Kar says Uber XL is one of many services the company offers.

"Uber Select is basically a luxury product," Kar explained.

That service, which is expected to launch in coming weeks or months, will have higher-end cars like Mercedes and BMWs available.

With files from The Homestretch