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Bylaw Amendments passed to allow TNCs to operate in Calgary

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Ward 6 official websiteThe City of Calgary passed amendments to the Livery Transport Bylaw that allows TNCs to operate in Calgary that come into effect April 4, 2016. The City’s business license requirement costs $220, which covers administrative costs so taxpayers are not subsidizing for-profit businesses like Uber.  A police background check would be approximately $30. A vehicle inspection is required annually, which can be done by private businesses and meets Provincial standards.

We know that the taxi industry needs innovation and competition. When it comes to Uber and companies like it, we only ask for four things:
-              A Calgary Police Service criminal history check
-              A provincially-approved inspection annually
-              Insurance that covers the driver, passenger, and third parties
-              A business license of $220 to cover administrative costs

We believe this is more than reasonable and it is very comparable to how ride-sharing businesses legally operate in cities in North America. There are dozens of TNCs in the market operating legally. Internationally, Calgary is considered to be in the middle of the road on regulations. Uber is operating in other jurisdictions with stricter regulations than those passed yesterday. Insurance is an important part of this equation.

The new system is structured to encourage open competition between taxis and private for hire vehicles using App-based Service Models and, given the risks associated with street hail service (and the mitigating licensing requirements including driver training and mandatory security cameras), taxis would retain the exclusive right to street hail and traditional telephone dispatch service.

If this sounds familiar, Edmonton took a similar approach and, in many ways, followed Calgary’s lead. You should know that while Edmonton has passed an interim bylaw, it is contingent on these new companies complying with some very important safety provisions that include ensuring their vehicles obtain insurance which is acceptable to the Superintendent of Insurance for Alberta. To date there has been no documentation that they can satisfy this requirement. The City of Edmonton has advised new for-hire transportation providers that they have until March 01, 2016 to comply or must cease operations.

In addition to being in constant contact with The City of Edmonton, The City have been working directly with municipalities across Canada including Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Mississauga and Montreal, of which none have yet adopted legislation permitting the operation of private for hire vehicles. This issue is routinely discussed with regulators and service providers from other countries, including the United States, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom in an effort to evaluate best practices being adopted worldwide, all are facing the same constraints in adopting a new framework that places citizen safety first, including the insurance issues mentioned above. Please read Private-for-hire vehicles to operate in Calgary.

This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.

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