News / Calgary

Calgary taxi industry sees slight uptick in customers

Year over year numbers show trip volumes going up, despite TNCs

Uber? No problem. Taxi trips are up slightly in Calgary year-over-year.

Metro File

Uber? No problem. Taxi trips are up slightly in Calgary year-over-year.

The taxi industry is revving up – no, really.

December 2016 taxi trip volumes show that cabs outpaced their 2015 and 2014 trips – even as they spar against competitors like Uber and Tappcar.

What’s a mystery to the city’s newly minted Chief Livery Inspector Abdul Rafih, is being taken as a sign of better times ahead by Checker Cab owner Kurt Enders. In Dec 2014, during a taxi boom of sorts, the fleet took on 664,860 trips, and this past December 674,214 trips were completed – a small but noticeable boost.

“I think the economy is starting to turn around, people are starting to find jobs that have lost their jobs – I’m guessing,” said Enders. “It’s nice to see things are starting to head in the right direction. We’re seeing on our stats alone that our trip count has gone up as well.”

His early January numbers for last week, are showing a three per cent increase over last year’s trip volumes, which to him shows that the December trend continues.

Typically, transportation industries see the economy shift well before others – but although the numbers are encouraging, Enders is careful to note some chilly December weather conditions that could have encouraged riders to choose cabs instead of transit or walking.

What’s not clear is the role that the city’s ridesharing partners had in this shift. According to Rafih there are now more than 1,000 transportation network company drivers operating in the city, up from the hundreds in Dec. 2016 after Uber re-launched.

“When I saw those numbers I was a bit surprised,” Rafih said. He speculated that perhaps customers were “going back to what they know” as the TNCs launched.

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