February 8, 2016
Uber Has Now Been Legalized in Edmonton
On January 27, Edmonton’s city council passed its vehicle-for-hire bylaw, making the ride sharing app, Uber, able to legally operate in the city. It also made Edmonton the first city in Canada to pass Uber-friendly bylaws. As in other cities like Toronto, Edmonton has seen a number of protests against Uber by the city’s taxi drivers. Over 100 taxi drivers showed up to protest the bylaw vote and ended up causing such a disturbance that police had to be called. However, despite the heavy protects by cab drivers, a final decision was made and the bylaw was passed.
According to the Huffington Post, taxi drivers in Edmonton are not pleased with the decision as they’re afraid that Uber will drive them out of business. They may have a point since this new bylaw allows other ride-sharing services like Lyft and SideCar to operate making for a more competitive market. That being said, the bylaw comes with some regulations like adding a minimum price to make it more fair.
On the other hand, it also seems that taxi services have declined in recent years as they previously dominated the market, making it ripe for competition. In 2014, Edmonton received 135 complains and issued 336 enforcement tickets to taxi drivers. Additionally, 90,000 riders have signed up for Uber in Edmonton, showing the public’s preference for the app. With the global rise in Uber, it really was only a matter of time before the app started to gain popularity in smaller cities.
The vote does come with a limit – the city is set to make Uber legal on March 1 of this year, providing the company can provide all of its drivers with insurance. Once Uber drivers are provided with commercial insurance however, the company will be allowed to legally enter the vehicle-for-hire market. According to CBC News, two insurance companies are currently drafting policies for Uber drivers.
To read more about this story, take a look at the Huffington Post’s article.