On Friday, the city of Ottawa will launch a new licensing system which will allow Uber and other private transportation companies to operate legally in the city. Taxi drivers have mixed reactions regarding the new system saying that it is both a curse and an opportunity.
Last spring, the city passed a new “vehicle-for-hire” regulation that would bring ride-sharing services, like Uber, in line with the taxi bylaws. The new rules officially come into effect on September 30.
Uber drivers will then be able to secure an operating license which would allow them to operate legally in the city. Uber Canada officials tell CBC that the company intends to fully abide by the new law starting on Friday.
In a statement Asim Puri, a former Nortel worker and the man who turned to driving a Blueline cab about seven years ago, said:
“For a lot of the drivers it’s very hard. They have a mortgage, they have to feed their families. Two or three guys I know already quit and they started driving Uber, because here they have to pay a lot of fees, lot of expenses. But we don’t know the future. What’s going to happen after the 30th? Maybe [the] government is going to open up accounts with Uber?”
Piri said that traditional taxi drivers like him are surviving because of the current government, however the future may hold a completely different story.