Ottawa’s sharing economy: City leads in Uber usage; Airbnb gaining popularity

Uber

Ottawa residents are opening their phones to hail rides more than people in any other major city in Canada, according to recent data from Statistics Canada.

For the first time ever, the agency looked at both ride-hailing technology and private accommodation services like AirBnB.

The report, released late last month, found that seven per cent of Canadian adults had used ride-booking service and 4.2 per cent had used an AirBnB-like service between Oct. 2015 and Nov. 2016.

Uber, the city’s largest ride-hailing service, wasn't legally entitled to operate in Ottawa until October 2016. 

Myriam Hazel, a senior analyst at Statscan, said the agency knew that the sharing economy was a rapidly growing sector in Canada.

“This is a new phenomenon, but it has repercussions on the economic activity of Canada,” she said.

She said the research did not measure the sharing services' impact on the job market and the economy more broadly.

“We had nothing to start with because, I think, we are one of the first countries to have data on the topic,” she said.

The data shows that 17.6 per cent of adults living in Ottawa had used a ride-hailing service during the survey period. Toronto came in second, at 14.8 per cent,  and Edmonton was third, at 9.8 per cent.

It estimated the country’s ride-booking spending was $241 million during the same stretch of time.

Hazel said Ottawa may be leading because its rate of higher education — which is correlated to ride-hailing use — is higher than other major cities'.

Neville Hewage, the Ottawa based founder of ride-booking startup oRide, said the numbers are evidence of healthy demand.

ORide, which is still working on insurance before getting up and running, has a proposed minimum fare of $8.

This article originally appeared in Metro News.