Today, Uber Canada said that Ottawa’s proposal to legalize ride sharing services is “fair.” The ride-sharing company said they also look forward to working with city to straighten out some of the fine details.
In an interview on CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning show, Uber Canada’s general manager Ian Black said:
“[The city’s proposal] puts the interests of consumers first, which is really important in this instance. And as councillor [Diane] Deans said, it does in many ways take the handcuffs off the taxi industry, and offers many benefits, we think, to taxi drivers, but also creates competition within the industry.”
The report presented on Thursday recommends that the legalizing all ride-sharing services, including Uber. If the proposal is passed, the following regulations would come into play:
– Drivers of all vehicles for hire would have to undergo a police record check and provide a copy of their driving record. Record checks would need to be submitted annually for ride-hailing service drivers, and every three years for traditional taxi drivers.
– Drivers wouldn’t be allowed to operate vehicles older than 10 years.
– A minimum of $5 million in liability insurance would be required for all vehicles for hire.
– Private cabs such as Uber would only be able to offer pre-arranged rides through an app and would not be allowed to accept cash payments.
– Private cabs such as Uber would also have to pay a 10-and-a-half-cent charge per ride, and an annual licence fee to help cover the cost of inspections and enforcement.
– Traditional taxis could start offering pre-arranged reduced prices through an app, but metered fares would continue to be capped at a maximum rate.
– Traditional taxi driver license fees would be reduced from $170 to $96 for standard cabs, and from $170 to no charge for accessible cabs.
– Traditional taxi drivers would also no longer be required to undergo training, unless they are driving accessible vehicles.
– Traditional taxi drivers would no longer have to charge customers a $1.50 service charge for debit and credit transactions.
Black says that the new regulations would put Uber in the same playing field as traditional taxi companies. He said:
“There are some details, fairly technical areas, that we do want to dig into with city staff and understand in the coming days, but on a broad level we think those areas that protect public safety are a good thing.”
The taxi industry, as expected, has not reacted very well to the city’s proposal. Black says that he understands that taxi drivers are frustrated, but he says the changes will benefit drivers in the long run.