Author: Taxi Truths

01 Mar

Uber Alberta says it will shut down Tuesday unless province agrees to changes

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February 27, 2016 – The manager for Uber in Alberta says the ride-sharing app will cease operating in the province on Tuesday unless the provincial government makes insurance and licensing changes.

Ramit Kar told a demonstration of about 150 Uber supporters on the steps of the Alberta legislature on Saturday that the government must allow flexibility on requirements that drivers have commercial licences.

He says the province must also approve a ride-sharing insurance product that Uber has obtained from a private insurer.

Uber wants the changes in order to satisfy requirements passed by Edmonton Council that take effect on March 1.

Under the Edmonton bylaw, Uber drivers must carry provincially approved insurance, have an annual vehicle inspection and agree to a criminal record check.

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Source: The Globe and Mail

01 Mar

Transportation minister ‘concerned’ by Uber’s plans to operate illegally

Taxi Truths Regulation

Uber’s intention to operate illegally on the outskirts of Edmonton’s city limits came as a surprise to Transportation Minister Brian Mason.

“Is that what they’ve said? That’s very interesting,” Mason said when questioned about Uber’s plans to continue operations in outlying communities, including St. Albert.

“That’s a very interesting proposition. I had not been aware that Uber was going to try and deliberately operate against the law. That concerns me a great deal and we’ll be having some conversations with our officials.”

Mason said insurance delays, which have halted company operations Edmonton, apply province-wide.

“I’m concerned that Uber would say that they’re going to continue to operate illegally,” Mason said during a transit announcement in Edmonton on Tuesday morning.

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Source: CBC

29 Feb

Lawyer for cabbies argues Uber’s impact on taxi market a ‘disaster’

Taxi Truths News, Race to the bottom, Regulation, Story

A court on Monday heard for the first time arguments on how Ottawa Uber drivers might fall outside the city’s taxi regulations, weeks before council sees the results of a critical bylaw review.

The local taxi union is asking a judge to ban drivers from using the Uber ride-ordering application to transport passengers. While the union’s lawyer, Sean McGee, described the “disaster” in the taxi market since Uber hit the streets, the lawyer representing several Uber drivers argued Uber vehicles and taxis are two completely different services.

Brian Elkin said Uber drivers don’t operate in the manner city-regulated cabs do: They don’t use taxi stands, they don’t accept curbside hails, and they don’t have to accept a ride request. While the taxi bylaw compels cabbies to have cameras installed inside their vehicles, Elkin pointed out Uber has a different safety system where passengers can see the driver’s picture and details of the vehicle on their smartphones.

McGee, on the other hand, said the city’s bylaw is simple: If you drive a vehicle for hire, you’re a cab and should follow with the rules. The bylaw requires anyone driving passengers for a fee to have a municipal taxi permit.

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Source: Ottawa Citizen

29 Feb

Mississauga Could Be the First GTA City to Legalize Uber

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For the past few months, the battle between the taxicab industry and Uber has been fraught with rancor and vitriol, leading to passionate protests on the part of the embattled cab industry in Toronto.

While the lion’s share of the theatrics have played out in The6ix, Uber has a presence in Mississauga and the city is noticing and taking steps to potentially regulate the popular company, along with other ride-sharing organizations.

According to a recent article in The Star, a staff report that’s set to be debated at a March 2 council meeting recommends an “equal regulation” option that would formally legalize services like UberX while still allowing the traditional cab industry to compete with the industrious newcomer.

Mayor Bonnie Crombie released a statement to The Star regarding the issue, telling the newspaper, “I have always maintained that we have to strike a balance between new technologies and an established industry that has a long history of providing quality service. It is important that we create a level playing field that allows for growth and progress within the industry, while protecting public safety.”

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Source: Insauga.com

26 Feb

Taking on Uber Quebec – with some help from the province

Taxi Truths News, Race to the bottom, Regulation, Story

Unless you’re Uber or one its lightly regulated drivers, you would probably think twice about getting into the taxi business these days. The company behind the near-ubiquitous ride-sharing app did not come to be valued at more than $60-billion (U.S.) by going easy on the competition.

Somehow, that has not deterred Montreal serial entrepreneur Alexandre Taillefer – best known locally for selling an early tech startup to Quebecor and starring in the Quebec version of Dragon’s Den – from choosing as his next act the intrepid challenge of running Uber out of the province.

He means to do it in the purest way possible – by outcompeting Uber, albeit with an assist from the provincial government. Mr. Taillefer is calling for a tax or fee of $1.10 to be slapped on every Uber ride in Quebec. The proceeds would flow into a fund to compensate the owners of traditional taxi plates, who have seen the value of their permits plummet with Uber’s entry.

“Not compensating these owners would amount to the pure and simple confiscation of their asset by the state,” Mr. Taillefer’s company, Taxelco, charged in a submission last week to the National Assembly’s transportation committee. It is holding special hearings into Uber in response to rising anti-Uber protests, including one that last month shut off traffic into Montreal’s airport.

All signs point to the provincial government, which took over primary responsibility for regulation of the taxi industry from municipalities in 1973, imposing some kind of new levy on Uber fares. Whether it will go as far as the Montreal Board of Trade’s recommendation that the government itself put up the money to buy out the owners of taxi plates remains to be seen.

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Source: The Globe and Mail

26 Feb

Mississauga council to vote on legalizing Uber

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 Mississauga could be the first city in the GTA to fully regulate Uber and other ride-hailing companies next week.

A staff report to be debated at a council meeting March 2 recommends an “equal regulation” option that would legalize cheaper but unlicensed services like UberX while allowing the traditional taxi industry to compete.

After Calgary approved new rules that Uber rejected last week, a similar move from Mississauga is likely to be closely watched at Toronto city hall, where staff are in the midst of drafting their own regulations.

“I have always maintained that we have to strike a balance between new technologies and an established industry that has a long history of providing quality service,” Mayor Bonnie Crombie said in a statement to the Star.

“It is important that we create a level playing field that allows for growth and progress within the industry, while protecting public safety.”

But the newly proposed rules are being criticized by both the industry and Uber.

In a move modeled after Calgary’s regulations, Mississauga city staff have recommended creating a separate category of licence that would require Uber drivers to get the same police background check and training as traditional drivers and provide proof of English literacy as well as obtaining “equivalent” insurance. Drivers would also be required to provide proof of vehicle inspection every six months.

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Source: The Toronto Star

24 Feb

Brampton calls on Uber to suspend ride-sharing service

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Brampton city council jumped into the Uber fray on Wednesday as they called on Uber to suspend some services and requested staff step up enforcement against unlicensed drivers.

But with no plans to challenge Uber in court, Brampton’s politicians may now find themselves in the middle of a tug-of-war that has seized Toronto and other major cities across the country.

In their first formal move against Uber, the 11-member council voted unanimously to request the company suspend UberX operations “in a show of good faith” while city staff review the regulations governing taxis and limousines. But that motion is not binding on Uber, which has largely refused to suspend operations in other cities, including Toronto.

Uber Canada gave no assurances they plan to comply with council’s request. When asked directly if they would, Uber Canada spokesperson Susie Heath said they “look forward to continuing our work with officials in Brampton to modernize regulations to encourage innovation, put people first and create safe, reliable and affordable transportation options.”

While Uber has disrupted taxi markets around the world by letting users connect to licensed cabs through a mobile phone app, it more controversially also offers rides in unlicensed cars at a discount through UberX.

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Source: The Toronto Star

24 Feb

Compensate taxi drivers if permits are abolished, Coderre tells National Assembly hearings

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QUEBEC — Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre warned the transport minister Wednesday against abolishing taxi permits and opening up the market to Uber without first compensating taxi drivers, many of whom have mortgaged their homes to buy a permit.

“The game in all of this, which is major, is that you have people who invested $1.3 billion in permits. Scrapping that, liberalizing too quickly, what kind of social impact will it have?” Coderre asked.

“If you want to take permits away, then pay for it,” he said, adding the taxi industry is bread and butter for 22,000 Montreal families.

The Couillard government is currently holding committee hearings into the future of Quebec’s taxi industry. It is studying ways to regulate ride-hailing companies such as Uber, a new player that operates without taxi permits, and minimal insurance and inspection costs.

Uber has a popular app that connects riders to nearby drivers using their own vehicles. The company says it takes on average four minutes to get an Uber car in Montreal.

On Tuesday, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, Germain Belzile from the HEC business school and Vincent Geloso, a PhD student at the London School of Economics, recommended the province open up the market to new technologies and buy back permits from taxi drivers “at a reasonable price.”

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Source: Montreal Gazette

23 Feb

Quebec says Uber should start respecting laws before asking for reforms

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Uber should start respecting the law before it asks for legislative reforms that suit its interests, Transport Minister Jacques Daoust said Thursday during the first day of hearings into the future of the taxi industry.

Daoust said the ride-hailing company has an unacceptable attitude and continued to level stinging criticism at Uber during the legislative committee hearings in Quebec City.

“It’s been a thousand times we’ve seized your company’s vehicles and you say: ‘The law doesn’t apply to me, I won’t listen to it.’ You are not looking for a solution, you are looking for a confrontation and you risk receiving one,” Daoust said.

Sitting across from him during the hearing was the head of Uber in Quebec, Jean-Nicolas Guillemette, who also received sharp rebukes from other politicians on the committee.

Daoust told Guillemette that if his company wanted the government to create rules governing ride-sharing services to work alongside the traditional taxi industry, he would have to start respecting the state.

“The legislature, it exists to make laws,” Daoust said. “You’re in the house where we make laws and what you’re saying is: ’Until I like the laws I won’t respect them,’ and for me, sir, that’s unacceptable. We will be the ones to impose a model on you.”

Earlier on Thursday Daoust said Uber should publicly disclose data that would permit the Quebec government to recoup taxes from the ride-hailing company since it began operating in the province.

“When we’re talking about 300,000 (monthly) transactions, that’s a lot of money that should be taxed,” Daoust said.

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Source: The Globe and Mail

23 Feb

Regional vehicle-for-hire bylaw could regulate Uber, taxis and limos

Taxi Truths News, Race to the bottom, Regulation, Story, Surge pricing

Waterloo Region needs a bylaw to regulate ride-hailing services like Uber and can’t afford to wait any longer for the provincial government to take action, says regional councillor Jane Mitchell.

Mitchell, chair of the region’s licensing and hearings committee, says that with no sign of any regulating measures from the Ontario government, it’s time the region put in place its own “vehicle-for-hire” bylaw, bringing taxis, limousines and services like Uber and Lyft under a single legal umbrella.

“Uber is presently illegal and [it] has been here since July. As far as the people who are doing the legal thing, which is the taxis and the limousines, particularly the taxis– they’re getting very concerned that Uber gets [a] free ride and is going into their livelihood,” Mitchell told CBC Radio’s The Morning Edition host Craig Norris on Tuesday.

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Source: CBC