Edmonton Becomes First Canadian City to Legalize Uber

Edmonton City Council has voted in favour (8 votes for; 4 against) of legalizing Uber, allowing the company to start operating legally, on March 1st.

CBC News reports council agreed to have minimum fares start at $3.25 by Uber and other private companies looking to start similar operations in the city.

Coun. Michael Oshry pressed for a limit on price surges, for up to four times maximum of the regulated rate, but councillors held off with a wait-and-see approach before setting a limit.

Mayor Don Iveson said “We’ll monitor this very closely and in six months’ time, if there’s predatory behaviour or gouging occurring, then council certainly reserves the right to strengthen the minimums and maximums.”

Uber’s general manager for Alberta, Ramit Kar, said Edmonton’s newly ratified bylaw is a model for other Canadian cities and believes issues related to insurance will be addressed, shortly.

Uber recently revealed despite not operating in Vancouver, over 100,000 people in the city have downloaded the company’s smartphone app.

The new bylaw states all drivers must possess proper insurance, either a commercial taxi policy or a new product that meets provincial regulations.

Yellow Cab president, Phil Strong said “We’re not scared of people coming to town as long as they’re playing right,” Strong said. “One still has to ask the question, ‘Why is it that an illegal company has been allowed to operate all this time?'”

Council chambers were again filled with taxi drivers, however this time they protested in silence, and most departed before second votes and the final reading of the bylaw.