By Slav Kornik | Global News
EDMONTON – A bylaw could pass Tuesday that would set the first rules in Canada for ride-sharing service Uber.
Edmonton’s new draft bylaw would create a special class of licence for private transportation providers like Uber, very similar to taxi drivers.
It would require Uber drivers to have a city license, undergo a criminal record check, have their vehicle inspected annually and pay for commercial insurance.
The fee structure would shift costs from ride-sharing drivers to ride-sharing companies, which Uber claimed would make its business unsustainable in the city.
The ride-sharing company said several amendments need to be made to avoid a forced shutdown. The taxi industry also remains leery of the proposed bylaw, citing concerns about safety for the public and drivers. Also at issue: the number of drivers able to operate within city limits.
“If you have a completely open system, where there are an unlimited amount of drivers, it becomes impossible to have full-time, professional drivers in the city,” said Pascal Ryffel, a spokesperson for Driving for Equality Campaign, Alberta Taxi Group.
“That makes it very unreliable.”
Taxi drivers have a list of amendments they would like to see made to the proposed bylaw when council discusses it on Tuesday.
Edmonton council chambers packed full on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015 for Committee meeting on vehicle-for-hire bylaw.
In a statement Monday, Uber said a petition supporting the company has nearly 15,000 signatures.
“Riders love Uber because it connects them to a safe, reliable and affordable ride at the push of a button, drivers love Uber because it provides them a flexible earning opportunity and cities love Uber because it gives residents and visitors a reliable ride when they need one, reduces congestion and decreases impaired driving,” said Uber spokesperson Jean-Christophe de le rue. “Yet Edmonton city staff have chosen to look backwards and proposed bylaw revisions that will force Uber to shut down in Edmonton.”
“On Tuesday, we hope that city council will support innovation, ride sharing and Edmontonians,” he added.