Uber logs 300,000 rides a month in Montreal, says general manager

A year after Uber launched its UberX service in Montreal, the popular car-sharing service is reporting big numbers and is growing despite operating in a legal grey zone.

Quebec general manager Jean-Nicolas Guillemette says Uber contributed $21M to province's economy since 2014

Uber in Montreal says it logs more than 300,000 rides a month. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

A year after Uber launched its UberX service in Montreal, the popular car-sharing service is reporting big numbers.

According to the company, approximately 300,000 Uber requests are made via smartphone in Montreal each month — something Uber's general manager for Quebec, Jean-Nicolas Guillemette, said is "pretty good."

The large majority of those rides, he said, were taken with UberX, the unregulated portion of the car-sharing app that sees non-taxi drivers chauffeuring people around town.

UberX offers rides at rates cheaper than conventional taxicabs.

Guillemette said the success of UberX in Montreal — despite the fact that it's technically in a legal grey zone — shows the provincial government that, for one thing, Montrealers are eager to embrace technology like Uber.

"Second, it shows that people are really looking for more options and alternatives to move around the city," he said.

Mayor, province remain opposed

Mayor Denis Coderre and the Quebec government have called the UberX service illegal.

Taxi drivers in the city have held protests against UberX, arguing it has an unfair advantage and is compromising their ability to make a living.

Montreal's taxi bureau has been ramping up its efforts to crack down on the service, seizing hundreds of vehicles this year and ticketing drivers.

Uber has been covering the costs, and Guillemette has vowed in the past to fight every vehicle seizure in court.

He said Thursday Uber is contributing to Montreal's economy, creating the equivalent of 1,400 jobs since setting up shop in Montreal two years ago. (UberX was introduced a year later.)

Guillemette said that number is arrived at by calculating the number of hours driven on Montreal streets divided by the 35 hours of a standard work week.

Guillemette said he's looking forward to introducing Uber's food-delivery service, UberEats, and the company's carpooling service, UberPool, to the Montreal market in the coming year. 

Other numbers released by Uber:

  • A ride is ordered on the Uber platform in Montreal once every nine seconds. 
  • 68 per cent of UberX rides in Montreal are one-way, which means that an alternative means of transportation is used for the return trip. 
  • 28 per cent of UberX rides in Montreal start or end near a Metro station – usually between the user's home and a station. 
  • 50 per cent of Uber's driver-partners work fewer than 10 hours a week and 70 per cent work fewer than 20 hours a week.
  • Uber says the average hourly income earned by UberX driver-partners in Montreal is $22.40. 


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