On February 22, 2016, Council passed an amendment to the Livery Transport Bylaw which allows Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), like Uber, to operate in Calgary legally. This included a few amendments to what Administration presented including an annual (not semi-annual) vehicle inspection. The City will regulate safety considerations through licensing. The City’s business license requirement costs $220, which covers administrative costs so the taxpayer is not subsidizing for-profit businesses like Uber. The amendments are based on six fundamental outcomes that is; safe, accessible, fair, reliable, competitive, and customer focused.
The TNC Bylaw amendments fall into five operational categories:
1. Municipal Licensing and Safety Screening
a. Calgary Police Service Background Check
b. Provincial Standard Mechanical Inspections
c. License ($220/year)
2. Operating Conditions
a. Approved Apps
b. Street hails limited to taxis (cameras, cash payments, anonymous customers)
3. Fleet Size
a. Controlled entry for taxis
b. Open entry for TNCs
4. Rate Setting
a. Customer provided fare estimate in advance
b. Approved apps can set their own rates
c. Street hails and phone dispatch subject to minimum taxi meter fair
d. Zone-based fares permitted between airports and hospitals
5. Vehicle Markings
a. No markings on TNCs required
TNCs are still required to have an insurance product that will provide coverage in case of an accident. Uber has not produced proof of insurance that will supplement a driver’s private insurance policy because current private insurance policies become null and void once a driver uses his or her vehicle for commercial purposes.
Currently, the only insurance product for this type of service in Alberta is commercial insurance. TNC drivers can purchase commercial insurance and drive under the present bylaw. The private insurance industry, specifically Intact Insurance, has initiated a product specifically for TNCs which take into account private insurance when driving for personal reasons, and enhanced coverage once a customer has accepted a private-for-hire driver. The Alberta Government Superintendent of Insurance has indicated that this product is necessary for TNCs to operate in Alberta if they will not purchase commercial insurance. The private insurance industry and Alberta Government are working to agree on a product that meets the needs of TNC drivers, which is expected to be available July 1, 2016. The City of Calgary supports TNCs to operate as long as they comply with the bylaw.