According to CTV News Atlantic, Uber officially launched in Halifax, Nova Scotia, as of 1 p.m. local time on Thursday, December 3.
While it has certainly been a long time coming, expanding into new territories during a pandemic certainly comes with its challenges, even for a titan of industry like Uber.
Ride-sharing companies were previously reluctant to establish operations in Halifax due to the city’s laws which would require their drivers to get taxi licenses, which was simply inconvenient considering the ride-share business model.
After lobbying the municipality to amend its bylaws for almost a year, a change was made in November that made it feasible for companies like Uber to come to Halifax.
While Uber Canada is more than thrilled to be finally operating in Halifax, the company will be upholding safety protocols and enforcing a no-mask, no-ride policy for both its riders and its customers, and is also encouraging Canadians to only travel when it’s absolutely essential.
Uber drivers like Halifax’s Gurmeet Randhawa are more than stoked at the app’s launch, seeing a lucrative business opportunity amidst universal turmoil.
“It’s really exciting because we have been waiting for a long time, so we’ve gone through many of the processes, driver’s abstract, the police ratifications,” said Randhawa.
— Matty M (@MattyHfx) December 3, 2020
— Graeme Benjamin (@GlobalGraeme) December 5, 2020
Not everyone has received Uber’s launch the same way, however. Halifax’s fleet of taxi drivers, who have already seen a 60% dip in passenger traffic so far this year, are (understandably) worried about being driven out of business by the ride-share app.
“There is no light at the end of the tunnel,” said the United Cab Association of Halifax’s Darshan Virk.
Uber hasn’t disclosed any plans to expand into other cities in the Maritimes yet— the ride-share company is probably waiting to see how well it fares in Halifax first.