Toronto takes the spotlight, but Edmonton is the real Uber trail blazer

Published: October 26, 2015

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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Canada’s biggest city, Toronto, recently voted to regulate the UberX peer to peer driver sharing service, in what has been widely billed as a historic move. However, while Toronto may have been first to cast a vote, it seems as though Edmonton will be the first to actually put regulations in place to police Californian based Uber.

Edmonton will vote for regulations that could be in place as early as November, making it the first city in Canada to actually implement rules for Uber, allowing drivers in the UberX program to stop operating rouge in the city.

However, Uber, which has proved difficult to work with for governments around the world with or without regulation says that the rules that the Edmonton council wants to put in place are “unworkable”. The UberX service employs drivers that do not have required taxi licenses or auto insurance coverage to carry passengers, breaking several bylaws in the city and indeed in other Canadian provinces.

This has saw governments and traditional taxi unions look to close the company down in Canada, but many warn that Uber is here to stay. Authorities are now also coming to that conclusion and are seeking ways to regulate the company. Edmonton’s proposed bylaw will see UberX legally able to operate in the city, although they will need a license issued by the city and proper auto insurance coverage. That would effectively make the drivers taxi operators, just working for a rival to the traditional system.

Interestingly, Uber is going against the regulations. It seems the company is in a luxurious place of operating in cities even if it is not allowed to and is simply not scared of authorities. Whether the company will accept any regulations remains to be seen, but in the case of Edmonton Uber spokesperson Xavier Van Chau was unconvinced.

"Most driver partners sign up on a short-term or part-time basis," he wrote. "With such rules, riders face the prospect of higher prices and unreliable service."