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Edmonton, Calgary grappling with how to deal with Uber private for hire vehicles


November 16, 2015   by The Canadian Press


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EDMONTON – Calgary and Edmonton are both in the midst of dealing with how to regulate private for-hire vehicle services.

The Court of Queen’s Bench has agreed to hear Calgary’s application for an injunction to temporarily stop drivers of private for-hire vehicles who use the Uber app offering rides for a fee

The Court of Queen’s Bench has agreed to hear Calgary’s application for an injunction to temporarily stop drivers of private for-hire vehicles who use the Uber app offering rides for a fee.

The city wants the court to ban Uber drivers until safety, insurance and regulatory requirements are met.

The court hearing is scheduled for Nov. 20.

In Edmonton, city council has come up with a proposed bylaw for Uber and other ride-share companies that calls for licence fees and insurance regulations.

Related: Calgary warns of risks as UberX launches in city

Uber said in a statement that the bylaw, as it stands “would force Uber to shut down in Edmonton.”

“We are hopeful city council will consider amendments that will keep ride-sharing in the city as is desired by the vast majority of Edmontonians,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, more than 11,000 people had signed a petition as of Friday afternoon on Uber’s site called “Save Ridesharing in Edmonton.” It asks city council to “work with, rather than against, Uber to develop common sense regulations that will ensure public safety and support consumer interests in our city.”

Related: Chaos erupts at council meeting over dispute between Uber and taxi companies

Edmonton city councillor Andrew Knack said “it’s really not unreasonable to ask for” licences and insurance.

City council will vote on the proposed bylaw on Nov. 17. Special security will be in place for the meeting, and media will have to be accredited.

Angry taxi drivers were taking their shirts off a month ago when the bylaw was first proposed.

Related: Uber’s insurance policies create “significant issues with regulatory compliance:” Alberta’s Superintendent of Insurance

The City of Calgary said in a statement that drivers, passengers and the general public face risks in private for-hire vehicle services.

The Alberta government has issued an advisory on ride-sharing services pointing out the insurance risk to drivers and the public, noting any third party involved in an accident in or with one of these vehicles may not have adequate or appropriate insurance.

It says additional risks relate to the level of training and security checks drivers undergo.