Uber and other safe transportation options are on their way

Post Date: Tuesday, February 09, 2016

That’s what The City is delivering because that’s what Calgarians told us they want. We are proposing new changes to our Livery Transport Bylaw that will create the opportunity for Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) such as Uber to legally operate in Calgary.

The City and Uber had issued a joint agreement in December stating that we were working together to develop solutions for new transportation options that are safe and reliable for Calgarians. Today, Uber told Calgarians that our proposed bylaws are unworkable.

The City believes that the proposed bylaw changes are workable and fair for TNCs. Here’s why:

  • We believe that all TNC drivers must undergo a Calgary Police Service (CPS) criminal history check. These criminal history checks are the most thorough background checks available and include vulnerable sector checks (e.g. checks for pardons for such things as sexual offences) as well as national police information. Current taxi drivers must undergo these checks to qualify for a license.
  • We believe that all TNC vehicles should undergo a provincially-approved vehicle inspection every six months, a regulation that our taxi industry already complies with. These inspections are widely available throughout Calgary.
  • We believe that all TNCs should be required to submit trip data, including dispatch response times, driver availability, and trip volumes. This allows us to ensure that quality customer service is attained. In fact, this is something our taxi industry already provides us. This data has assisted the police in different types of criminal investigations and is another way to monitor citizen safety. The trip data also helps The City make good evidence-based policy decisions.
  • We believe that insurance is a very important part of this equation and we continue to inform drivers, passengers and the general public about risks involved in using private for-hire vehicle services. The Government of Alberta has issued an advisory notice on ride sharing services and the insurance risk they currently pose to drivers and the public, noting any third party involved in an accident in or with one of these vehicles may not have insurance.
  • We believe the proposed licensing fee of $220 per driver, per year is reasonable to help with the operational cost of enforcement. In addition, other fees include a Calgary Police Services criminal history check of $30, a vulnerable sector check of $25 (only if finger prints are required) and a vehicle safety inspection fee ranging from $140 to $179. TNCs have the opportunity to subsidize these fees or pay for them outright to support their drivers.
These proposed bylaw changes will allow TNCs to operate in a fair and competitive market. They address citizen, driver and passenger safety and support accessibility, reliability, fairness, competition and customer service.

(cross-posted from Calgary City News Blog)