By Laura Osman, CBC News
Uber and taxi drivers, now bitter adversaries, are going to battle at Edmonton city hall this week. But this time they have something in common.
Both the ride-share company and traditional cabs say the city’s plan to revise its regulations and make Uber legal would drive them out of town.
Licensing director Garry Dziwenka unveiled the plans Sept. 4, which would make Edmonton the first city in Canada to legalise the controversial company.
Dziwenka said the city’s goal was to make room for the new service while protecting traditional cabs.
In an effort to make sure Uber and other ride-share companies are safe, the city proposed rules that would require potential drivers to undergo criminal record checks, vehicle inspections, license applications and get commercial insurance.
That would set an Uber driver back approximately $6,800 a year. Uber spokesperson Xavier Van Chau called the proposal “unworkable,” given most drivers don’t work for them full-time.
Uber driver Eskinder just recently began picking up fares using the app to make some extra money on the weekends. CBC agreed not to use his last name because he could be fined by the city.
Eskinder said the expense would be too much to justify the few hours he works for Uber, and he has no intention of quitting his day job. He would have to stop.
“I don’t think I can afford paying all of this money,” he said. “I can’t keep this job like regular job. I work as a part time.”
Uber officials said many of their drivers would be in a similar situation.
Last week, in an email to its Edmonton clients, Uber wrote that “if amendments are not adopted Uber will be unable to continue operating in Edmonton.”
The company would like to see the burden of regulation fall on them, rather than individual drivers. Its business model depends on it.
READ MORE HERE: The big insurance question