You may already know that I am strongly in favour of safely allowing Uber and other ride-sharing companies to provide their services in Calgary. On its own, the old and tired taxi system simply doesn’t work for us anymore, and it’s time to shake things up. Calgarians want the freedom to choose how to get around, they want fresh and original solutions to mobility, and they want healthy competition in the marketplace. Of course, taxis still have a place in our city, and they will continue to do so for a long time to come. But their monopoly is over.
I have used ride-sharing apps before in other cities, and can attest to the ease and convenience of this kind of service. It isn’t perfect, however, and when it comes to safety the City of Calgary needs to ensure that we get things right. On Monday, my City Council colleagues and I will decide how to move forward with regulations that allow Uber and other private-for-hire companies to do business in Calgary. And, let me be clear: some level of regulation is necessary – doing nothing, and making no change to the Livery Transport Bylaw, is simply not an option.
Regardless of my opinion on the matter, and until it changes, Uber drivers in Calgary are indeed breaking our law. So let’s change it, and change it thoughtfully. It is not too much to ask private-for-hire drivers to acquire the proper insurance and pass a criminal background check. And it is certainly not too much to ask for our regulatory framework to accommodate not only these drivers, but the customers who are hungry for an innovative, convenient and proven choice. Calgary is ready.
Update from November 16
Today, my Council colleagues and I took a major step towards allowing Uber and other private-for-hire services to operate in Calgary. We voted to move ahead with a “hybrid open/controlled entry system” in which taxi regulations are made more flexible and new market players, such as Uber, are allowed. As a result of our decision, City staff will return to us in February with new regulations to ensure that for-profit ride-sharing apps can be incorporated safely and thoughtfully into our transportation network. If we agree to these bylaw changes, then Uber will be legal.
I am hopeful that the new regulations will be balanced and straightforward, and that Uber will be allowed on Calgary’s roads.
Update from November 22
Having always been strongly in favour of safely allowing Uber and other Transportation Network Companies (TNC) to operate in Calgary, I
am disappointed with today’s outcome.
New sharing economy businesses like Uber, AirBnB and Kickstarter are
breaking the mold and pushing the boundaries of antiquated business models. As
consumers and citizens, we now demand better service, better value and more
transparency. We are close to finding common ground for TNCs, Taxis and
Limousines but I believe that we still need to modify the framework. I proposed
to my colleagues on City Council that we focus on the two main sticking points
that are holding our progress hostage. I asked to see a thoughtful hybrid flat
and variable fee structure as well as the creation of an inspection process
that doesn’t create unnecessary barriers to provide service. Unfortunately, my
attempt to move these two issues forward failed. Calgarians are hungry for an innovative,
convenient and safe choice and I will continue to fight for an effective model.
I will keep you updated as this issue unfolds. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with my office.
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.