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Ridesharing & Transportation Network Companies

Cars driving down street at night

Recent changes to the bylaw that that regulates the taxi, limousine and ridesharing industries allow Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) to operate legally in Calgary.

Ridesharing and vehicle-for-hire services - What you need to know

Below you can find information on ridesharing in Calgary. Click on the question to see the answer below.

Ridesharing basics

Ridesharing in Calgary

Ridesharing regulations


What is ridesharing?

Ridesharing refers to a service where a person can use a website or app to arrange, often a ride in a private vehicle, driven by its owner for a fee. In Calgary, ridesharing companies can legally provide this service if they are licensed through The City. We are not referring to carpooling, vanpooling or public transit.

What is the difference between a ridesharing company and a Transportation Network Company?

There is no difference. The City of Calgary refers to ridesharing companies as Transportation Network Companies within the Livery Transport Bylaw.

What is the difference between taxi services and ridesharing companies?

Taxis can accept rides that are street hailed or booked ahead of time (by phone, website or app). Taxis charge a rate that is capped at a maximum regulated amount. Ridesharing companies can arrange rides with passengers or customers through an app (not through street hails). Ridesharing companies charge unregulated rates not subject to a maximum amount.

Is it cheaper to use ridesharing services versus a traditional taxi?

Not necessarily. App rates for ridesharing companies can fluctuate based on demand, whereas taxis have a capped rate. When app rates are high, street hail or call a taxi to benefit from a rate that is capped at the regulated maximum amount. More information on rates can be found on our rates & fares page.

What’s The City’s role with taxi, limousine and ridesharing companies?

We license and regulate the vehicle-for-hire industry, including taxi, limousine and Transportation Network Companies (ridesharing companies). Our main concern is the safety of customers and service providers who use vehicle-for-hire services in Calgary.

Can ridesharing companies operate in Calgary?

They can! In fact, they are. We have several licensed ridesharing companies or Transportation Network Companies in Calgary.

How long have ridesharing/Transportation Network Companies been permitted to operate in Calgary?

The Livery Transport Bylaw was changed April 4, 2016, allowing for ridesharing companies to operate in Calgary. This included licensing for companies, drivers and app approval by The City.

Why can’t Uber operate in Calgary?

When Uber began operating in Calgary in October of 2015, it did so without requiring its drivers to obtain the appropriate driver’s licence or the appropriate commercial insurance to operate safely. The City brought its injunction application to cease that unsafe operation until such time as the drivers complied with all applicable safety legislation. Because of this, the City filed for an injunction asking for Uber to stop operating until the drivers could comply with all safety and operating requirements. Since that time, The City’s bylaw has been amended to allow for the operation of Transportation Network Companies. Uber has applied for and received a Transportation Network Company Licence. If or when Uber’s drivers can meet all of the safety and administrative requirements, The City would be willing to ask the Court to lift the injunction.

Why do bylaws change?

Bylaws are not static; they can change over time. Part of the regulatory process requires bylaws to be amended from time to time to make improvements and to address new issues. We make the best decisions with the information we have, but we need to see how the market responds to the bylaw.

Currently, we’re proposing new amendments to the Livery Transport Bylaw. If Council accepts them, the bylaw could change. These amendments, if accepted, will improve the application process for Transportation Network Company Drivers, offer a proposed Transportation Network Company licence fee system for companies of all sizes and keep Calgarians safe. Our proposed bylaw amendments are considered a pilot and, if accepted, will be reviewed in one year. A report will be provided to the Livery Transport Advisory Committee (LTAC) and Council in the first quarter of 2018.

What do ridesharing regulations mean for taxi drivers?

Adding new vehicle-for-hire services in Calgary is about offering more safe choices. Taxi services are important, and they will remain a vital part of the suite of vehicle-for-hire services in the city. As the economy and the vehicle-for-hire landscape change, customer satisfaction will continue to be critical for all industry participants.

City Administration is recommending a licence fee freeze for all vehicle-for-hire services in 2017, keeping the same 2016 prices in 2017, as well as releasing more Taxi Plate Licences to allow taxis to compete. The exact number of plates will be discussed at the Regular LTAC Meeting on November 18, 2016. 

Why do we need a “made in Calgary” solution for ridesharing when this isn’t the case in other cities?

There isn’t a one size fits all solution for the vehicle-for-hire industry—both within Calgary and in other markets. We know there’s a desire for more transportation options. We want to give you choice, but we want each option to be safe. That means we need a licence fee structure in place that works for companies of different sizes and covers The City’s costs (regulating the industry is not supported by tax dollars). We also need to have the right safety checks in place. The proposed bylaw amendments, together with the provincial legislation, do just that.

What’s a licence fee structure?

Companies and drivers of vehicle-for-hire companies must pay a fee to be licensed. A licence fee structure refers to the different ways a vehicle-for-hire company can pay the driver and company licence fees to operate in Calgary.  

Why don’t we allow ridesharing companies to conduct their own background checks?

Safety is and always has been our top priority. We want to make sure the right standards are met so you can have a safe ride. We are proposing bylaw amendments to speed up the process to apply for a Transportation Network Driver’s Licence (TNDL).

How do I become a Transportation Network Company (TNC) Driver?

Our TNC driver page has all the information you need on becoming a TNC driver.

What is the Livery Transport Advisory Committee?

The Livery Transport Advisory Committee (LTAC) is an advisory body that accepts input from industry, citizens and special-interest groups and advises Council on decisions about Calgary’s vehicle-for-hire industry. LTAC and Administration advise. Council decides. Administration implements. Members of the public are encouraged to submit their ideas to LTAC to help improve this evolving industry.