Aug. 1, 2016 – The effects of the $35 billion deal will be felt for years.
In a summer of big tech deals, this could be counted as the most unexpected. Uber is selling its China operations to its bitter – and more successful – rival, Didi Chuxing, which controls 80% of China’s ride-sharing market. The repercussions of the deal will be felt far beyond China, affecting everything from Uber’s prospects for an IPO to the fate of its competitors in other markets.
5 recommendations for Uber and other car-sharing services
March 31, 2016 – The city’s municipal licensing and standards division is expected to introduce long-awaited new regulations to cover Uber next week. It is unclear what the city will recommend, but the MaRS Solutions Lab offers some ideas.
City hall currently sets the fares for all taxis, including the drop rate and per kilometre costs. Uber sets its own rate, depending on type of service and takes a commission of up to 25 per cent.
The report recommends that street-hailed rides still be regulated, but individual taxi brokerages be allowed to set their own rates if the ride is pre-booked.
Uber uses a controversial surge-pricing model, where regular rates can be doubled or tripled or even more when demand is high and the supply of cars is low. But the consumer must consent to increased rate, or have the option to decline.
By deregulating fares, taxi companies would have every chance to compete — and a taxi brokerage could bring in surge pricing, if it wished.
Is anybody buying ride-hailing insurance for UberX?
March 30, 2016 – Just because an insurance product exists does not mean anybody is buying it, taxi industry leaders told the province of Ontario today.
Gail Souter, president of the Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA) and Marc Andre Way, president of the Canadian Taxi Association (CTA) sent a joint letter to the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO), which regulates automobile insurance, calling upon it to require insurers to report on the number of “ride hailing” policies sold to UberX drivers acting as unlicensed taxi drivers.
“We are well aware from industry conversations that a miniscule number of unlicensed drivers will purchase these products, if in fact any ever do. They have managed to drive passengers for compensation for months or years without notifying their insurance companies, and they have no plan to change their behaviour now,” Souter says.
“For example, on March 19th in downtown Toronto, an UberX driver was involved in a serious accident. The driver had to be cut from the car, and he and 3 passengers were transported to hospital. Was this driver covered by any required insurance endorsement? Does anyone know?” she asks.
“Licensed taxi drivers are not only required to pay for commercial insurance, they must present proof of insurance to maintain their license. UberX drivers should be required to do exactly the same thing; otherwise, this entire special ‘ride hailing endorsement’ is simply smoke and mirrors.”
Driving.ca magazine recently noted, “(T)he majority…would rather risk exposure to possible lawsuits and damages than a guaranteed bump in their rates.”
For this reason, the TTA and the CTA wrote FSCO asking it to protect the public through the following actions:
That insurance firms selling ride-hailing endorsements be required to report to FSCO the number of such endorsements actually sold, and detail for FSCO how they are monitoring the fact that drivers are only driving the 10 or 20 hours per week for which they are insured.
That this information be shared with municipalities. Release of information on the actual number of endorsements purchased will give politicians more accurate information on which to base their debates and decisions.
Toronto plans to introduce new regulations that may end conflict between taxi drivers and Uber
March 29, 2016 – New regulations to govern rideshare services are coming, bringing hope of a possible truce to Toronto’s taxi wars.
Rideshares like UberX, operated by Uber Canada, have led to a revolution in the transportation marketplace: using a smartphone, one can summon a ride within minutes and travel across the city for less than the price of a traditional taxi cab. While proponents of the so-called sharing economy hail rideshares for their innovation, the services have met considerable resistance from taxi drivers, both internationally and locally, not to mention from government.
The taxi drivers claim they are being pushed out of the market by being forced to follow strict regulations governing who can or cannot provide transportation services.
“Drivers’ livelihoods are being taken away from them,” said Kristine Hubbard, operations manager for Beck Taxi, which is one of the city’s largest licensed cab companies.
End-game approaching for Uber ‘operating outside the law’ in Toronto
To hear Uber tell it, they’re not so much breaking the rules in Toronto as choosing not to follow a bylaw that doesn’t really apply to them.
The distinction infuriates opponents and illustrates the tightrope Uber has been walking in the city. The company pushed into Toronto, in stark contrast to its approach in some other jurisdictions, and has been operating “outside the law” while hoping to force a change to the rules.
Now, after months of heated debate and protests over the role of Uber, an end-game is approaching. New regulations are being drafted by Toronto city staff and are expected to be released next month. The company hopes that these will give their operations a legal imprimatur, while potentially serving as a model for other Canadian cities.
“Legal scholars call this regulatory arbitrage,” said Brishen Rogers, a professor of law at Temple University in Philadelphia who has studied Uber.
“You follow some rules and try to skirt around some others and you break some others. And you know, Uber’s calculation, and I have to sort of admire their chutzpah in some ways, is simply that their product is good enough that sometimes if they break the rules they’ll be able to change the rules, because the consumers will want them to be in the city so badly. And that has happened.”
The company’s sharp-elbowed approach is not without risk, though.
March 28, 2016 – A battle over background checks for Uber drivers at the world’s busiest airport comes as cities like Los Angeles and Austin, Texas, consider more thorough screenings to prevent criminals from getting behind the wheel.
Uber has objected to the Atlanta airport’s plan to use fingerprints to check criminal records of its drivers, saying its own record checks are sufficient.But the district attorney in Uber’s hometown of San Francisco has called the ride-booking firm’s process “completely worthless” since drivers aren’t fingerprinted.In Houston, city officials say they found that background checks without fingerprints allow criminals who have been charged with murder, sexual assault and other crimes to evade detection in a variety of ways.
March 23, 2016 – First, let me make this very clear: I am neither for the taxi industry, nor am I for the ride-sharing companies. I am writing as an Automotive Service Technician, and I have real concerns about Uber. So far, most of the debate has been about driver and rider safety, following bylaws and getting the right insurance. But there’s another issue that isn’t being discussed: Did you know that an UberX vehicle can pass the company’s vehicle inspection, yet fail the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s (MTO) minimum safety standards? And this isn’t just in Ontario – I’m confident that if I put Uber’s inspection form up to any province’s standards, it’s possible to have the vehicle pass UberX and fail the provincial inspection.
There are many vehicles on the road that don’t meet the Ministry’s minimum standards. We advise our clients about their unsafe vehicle but it’s their decision whether they want to fix it or not (that issue in itself warrants another article). As a private citizen, you make that choice. The concern with Uber is that a paying customer can ride in a potentially unsafe vehicle; that vehicle is being used to directly generate income and, as such, I believe it should be considered commercial in nature.
Unionizing Uber: New front in battle over wildly successful ride-hailing app
March 23, 2016 – There’s a four-wheeled workers’ revolution spinning through the streets of Seattle that could end up rolling over one of the most profitable business models of the so-called “sharing economy.”
Drivers for the ride-hailing service Uber have been given the right to unionize by Seattle city council, the only jurisdiction in North America to do so.
The union drive brings the potential to achieve what regulators in cities around the world, including in Canada, have been mostly ineffective at doing — imposing local rules and labour standards on how Uber relates with its drivers.
“We have no say,” Seattle Uber driver Don Creery told CBC News on a recent visit to the city. “We can email the company about issues, but they just get ignored. It seems the company has an agenda to push the prices as low as they can.”
March 23, 2016 – In the fight between Uber and taxis in London, city hall has given the steering wheel to politicians, writing a report that provides the broad options, from trying to shut down Uber to giving the company free rein.
The report comes more than half a year after the ride-sharing giant arrived in London, part of a Southwestern Ontario roll-out to four markets that turned the traditional cab industry on its head and put heat on city hall to regulate Uber as it does other ride-for-hire services.
“I’m glad to see the report coming forward,” Coun. Jesse Helmer said Wednesday.
“I think change is inevitable.”
City bylaw chief Orest Katolyk lays out five options in a report headed to politicians next Wednesday — options he recommends that city council’s community and protective services committee present to citizens in public consultations in April, May or June.
The report comes as Uber and city hall fight it out in court.
The city has issued 36 fines, ranging from $400 to $,1000, and most Uber drivers are being defended by the company.
UberX car struck by SUV during downtown Toronto police chase
March 21, 2016 – A high-speed police chase involving an SUV ended early Sunday morning in a collision with another vehicle — an UberX car carrying passengers — an arrest, and eight people sent to hospital.
Three of those were seriously injured, according to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), which investigates whenever an interaction with police results in serious injury, death or sexual assault allegations.
SIU investigators say the black Acura SUV, which was the vehicle fleeing police, contained five occupants, two of which were 16-year-old males (one was the driver), two of which were 17-year-old females, and one of which was a 15-year-old male.
There were a total of four occupants in the Malibu Uber X vehicle. One of them was a 39-year-old male driver, one was a 38-year-old male, one was a 32-year-old female, and one a 27-year-old female.
“The technology is just a shiny shopfront”: the case against the sharing economy
March 21, 2016 – Uber isn’t special because it has an app – it is special because it has billions in venture capital funding behind it.
Tom Slee, a British-born software designer, lives in Waterloo, Ontario, a place better known as the home of Blackberry. As a result, he tells me over the phone shortly after the release of his book, “we’re quite familiar with companies that seem to be the future, but turn out not to be, after all”.
What’s Yours is Mine: Against the Sharing Economy is a painstaking examination of the latest set of companies claiming a chunk of our future. AirBnB, Uber and apps that send you anything from dinner to a cleaner all claim that they’re portals, upon which vendors and customers can “share” (or “buy and sell”, as we’ve called it for thousands of years) their products. At first glance, it’s a utopian vision,
Aviva has introduced a new insurance product for ridesharing programs. But we’re predicting most drivers won’t even bother
March 18, 2016 – A prediction, and a challenge.
As promised, Aviva Canada, one of Canada’s largest insurers, now has a plan in place for ridesharing programs in Ontario, and are currently with regulators in other key markets, such as Alberta, Quebec and the Maritimes. They don’t call it the Uber plan, but it’s the Uber plan. While acknowledging they want no part of ongoing legal gymnastics taking place over the legality of Uber in centres across Canada (Uber is not legal in most centres across Canada), they do want to make sure their customers are protected should they sign up to drive for a ridesharing program.
Uber drivers often unaware of tax obligations
Income tax, GST/HST and company’s commission cut deep into drivers’ take-home pay
March 16, 2016 – It’s been said there’s no such thing as a free ride and, at tax time, that’s as true for Uber drivers as it is for their passengers.
The controversial app-based ride-hailing service, and its competitor Lyft, are a source of income for tens of thousands of Canadians. But some of them are operating under some misconceptions, tax experts say.
The most common misconception is that their earnings are tax-free.
“And that’s obviously not true,” says Allan Madan, who heads a small accounting firm in Mississauga, Ont.
Drivers must report their earnings, as well as fill out and include Form T2125 with their personal tax returns. And if they made more than $30,000 on the road during the year, they must register with the CRA to charge GST/HST.
Getting the paperwork right is one of the biggest challenges faced by Uber drivers, according to Madan, because they’re often new to the responsibilities of self-employment.
“They may not necessarily be business people with exposure to business taxes,” he says. “They need education on their filing requirements, on what they can claim and what their obligations are to the CRA.
Uber safety a source of concern, Toronto-area survey says
March 16, 2016 – When it comes to Uber, Toronto-area residents are less concerned with what the ride-sharing company is doing to the taxi industry than they are with their personal safety in the absence of municipal regulations.
An independent Environics Research Group survey found 56 per cent of residents support Uber with the support being stronger among those who use the service. Only 49 per cent of non-users support it.
But 60 per cent of respondents overall were concerned about the lack of municipal licensing and the implications for their safety with unlicensed Uber drivers.
The results were released Wednesday in conjunction with an online discussion platform designed to gather residents’ thoughts on regulating the app-based service.
March 14, 2016 – Innovation™ has become both a rebranding exercise and an apology for a host of regressive corporate practices that look suspiciously like business as usual.
But let’s be clear: there is nothing unconventional or remotely innovative about corporations that rationalize exploitation — of a workforce, of political connections, of rules that exist to protect a minimum standard of rights, dignity and safety — to justify their continued pursuit of profit. After all, that’s what — left unchecked — they’ve pretty much always done.
Made-in-BC solution coming for taxis and Uber: Peter Fassbender
March 11, 2016 – The Minister tasked with finding a way for taxi companies and ride sharing services to co-exist says a solution is coming.
Community and Translink minister Peter Fassbender says we will see a “made in B.C.” solution for Uber and taxi companies to both operate, but he wouldn’t say when the plan would be tabled.
“We are going to see a made in BC solution but I am not going to give you a date because we are going to make sure we do it right and we do it pragmatically and that we ask all the questions that need to be asked before we make any difinitive steps.”
Quebec may buy back taxi permits, sell them to Uber
March 11, 2016 – The provincial government is considering buying back taxi permits — and offering them to Uber.
Transport Minister Jacques Daoust said Thursday that he is mulling over the idea as a way to legalize the app-based car service.
He said that details are still being worked out, but one idea is to sell permits outright to Uber, while another would be to rent them to Uber drivers on a day-by-day basis.
The government dictates how many taxis are allowed to operate in each territory, with roughly 4,500 taxis allowed on the road in Montreal.
The government has not issued new permits in years, but they are often sold by drivers who leave the industry, or as a way to finance retirement. One permit in Montreal is being sold for $150,000, while an owner in St. Donat is selling two permits at $10,000 each.
Taxi union files class-action request against Uber
March 11, 2016 – The union representing thousands of taxi drivers filed a request in court Friday for permission to launch a class-action suit against the upstart mobile ride-hailing application Uber.
The union says Uber, which allows drivers to chauffeur others using their personal cars and charge them a fee, is engaging in unfair competition.
“We don’t know exactly how much it will be, but it will be in the tens of millions of dollars,” said Benoit Jugand, a spokesperson for the Regroupement des travailleurs autonomes-Métallos, the union that represents about half the roughly 10,000 taxi drivers on the island of Montreal.
In Quebec, those affected by a class-action suit are automatically eligible for damages if any are awarded, and must opt out if they don’t wish to be part of the action.
Jugand said the action taken Friday is in the name of taxi drivers in Longueuil, Laval, and Quebec City as well.
“It’s any city in the province where Uber is operating,” Jugand said.
Uber seems to offer better service in areas with more white people. That raises some tough questions
March 10 , 2016 – An Uber car is seen parked with the driver’s lunch left on the dashboard in Los Angeles in July. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)
Jennifer Stark is a computational journalist at the College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park. Nicholas Diakopoulos is an assistant professor in the College of Journalism at University of Maryland, College Park. This is a guest contribution to Wonkblog.
The goal of Uber’s surge-pricing algorithm is to influence car availability by dynamically adjusting prices. When surge is in effect, and prices are higher, the idea is that the supply of drivers is increased while at the same time demand is decreased. We previously reported that it appears that rather than increase the absolute supply of drivers by getting more cars on the road, existing driver supply is instead redistributed geographically to places with more demand. If drivers are relocating to areas with surge-pricing, those areas will experience reduced wait times for their car, or better service, but the areas the drivers are moving away from will experience longer wait times, or poorer service. So who gains, and who loses? Which neighborhoods get consistently better or worse service?
Our analysis of a month’s worth of Uber data throughout D.C. suggests an answer: The neighborhoods with better service — defined as those places with consistently lower wait times, the pickup ETA as projected by Uber — are more white.
We collected data on wait times — Uber’s estimate for how long you will wait between requesting your car and it arriving — and surge pricing via the Uber API for 276 locations in D.C. every three minutes for four weeks from Feb. 3 to March 2. We didn’t want to miss any surges, so we chose three minutes, knowing that surges in D.C. are no shorter than three minutes. The surge-pricing data was then used to calculate the percentage of time surging. Data were analyzed by census tracts, which are geographic areas used for census tabulations, so that we could test for relationships with demographic information. Only uberX cars were included in our analysis since they are the most common type of car on Uber. (In the interest of making the data analysis transparent, all our code can be viewed online.)
Quebec government considering buying back some taxi permits, reselling or leasing them to Uber
March 10, 2016 – The Quebec government is considering buying back some taxi permits in order to sell or lease them to Uber.
This is the model advocated by Transport Minister Jacques Daoust, but the terms have yet to be determined. A bill would be tabled by the end of March forcing the transport service to follow the new rules.
On Thursday, the last day of hearings of the parliamentary commission on the paid transport of people in Quebec, Daoust said the government could buy permits that are on sale, and then lease them in order to generate revenue. The takeover of the permits would thus be at no cost to the Treasury.
The value of taxi licenses is estimated between $1.3 and $ 1.7 billion currently at the rate of $150,000 to $200,000 per licence, for 8,500 licences in circulation in the controlled market.
“I’ll buy them, but I will have to find the revenue to be able to purchase them,” said the Minister in a press briefing before the final sitting of the parliamentary committee.
“We will not disburse $1.3 or $1.4 billion at the outset, but we can over a period of six to seven years, be fair with the industry. We will give it the flexibility to be able to evolve. And new players, and those who buy licenses, might not be forced to mortgage their future (to buy a license),” he said.
Year after year, about 500 licences change hands, and as taxi permits are put on sale, the state could buy and then lease them to Uber and its drivers, or to other drivers, in order to recover its stake. The permit holder would not have to shell out a large sum to buy them.
Laid-off undercover Edmonton Uber cop says city won’t be able to find vehicle for hire ‘creeps’
March 9, 2016 – Days before Edmonton’s new vehicle-for-hire bylaw took effect, Edmonton didn’t have one experienced officer ready to enforce it.
Its veteran three-member municipal enforcement team was reassigned. Its only undercover officer was let go Feb. 9. With no plan in place to bring that officer back for court appointments, dozens of cases are set to be withdrawn for lack of a witness.
Despite promising council it would gear up enforcement and report back on how much that would cost, administration scaled back. They now have fewer people on the job and no one going undercover.
The plan, or lack of a plan, has former undercover officer Tom Wilson shaking his head.
“You’re not going to find the creeps. You’re not going to find the people who are ripping people off,” said Wilson, who was the investigator let go Feb. 9.
His contract was supposed to run until next October, but his termination letter says his position is “no longer required.”
“I’m a dad of a daughter,” he said. “If she’s downtown and I’m not able to get there, she’s smart enough not to (get into an unmarked cab), but alcohol does play a factor. I don’t want that opportunity to exist. … You can’t get things done by being in uniform. You just can’t.”
March 8, 2016 – Ride sharing services like Uber are inevitable and Saskatoon needs to be ready, the city’s transportation committee heard Tuesday.
“We’re going to deal with it rather than have it deal with us,” committee chair Coun. Randy Donauer said.
At the same time, he and other committee members advocated navigating the regulation process carefully and with proper consultation from all affected industries.
“I think we’re in for a fairly lengthy process,” Donauer said.
City council previously expressed a desire to have the province regulate ride sharing services. According to a report the transportation committee received Tuesday, the province responded by saying municipalities should create their own regulations.
The report was passed to council for information, along with motions instructing the administration to consult with the taxi industry and look at whether it’s viable to regulate taxis and ride sharing companies using the same rules.
Seven citizens from the taxi and car service industries spoke at the committee meeting, all in favour of regulating Uber.
Internal Data Offers Glimpse At Uber Sex Assault Complaints
March 6, 2016 – According to data provided by Uber to BuzzFeed News, the company received five claims of rape and “fewer than” 170 claims of sexual assault directly related to an Uber ride as inbound tickets to its customer service database between December 2012 and August 2015.
Uber provided these numbers as a rebuttal to screenshots obtained by BuzzFeed News. The images that were provided by a former Uber customer service representative (CSR) to BuzzFeed News, and subsequently confirmed by multiple other parties, show search queries conducted on Uber’s Zendesk customer support platform from December 2012 through August 2015. Several individual tickets shown in the screenshots have also been confirmed.
After Uber learned of BuzzFeed’s investigation, the company began contacting customer service representatives in its system who had searched the Zendesk database for the terms rape and sexual assault, apparently in a hunt for the leaker.
In one screenshot, a search query for “sexual assault” returns 6,160 Uber customer support tickets. A search for “rape” returns 5,827 individual tickets. Other variations of the terms yield similarly high returns: A search for “assaulted” shows 3,524 tickets, while “sexually assaulted” returns 382 results.
Uber: Underpaid, assaulted and disillusioned UK drivers file lawsuit exposing dark side of company
March 6, 2016 – While Uber might have dodged attempts by Transport for London (TfL) to regulate the app-based taxi firm, British drivers have now revealed that they are so badly treated by the company they are now suing the firm for workers’ rights and compensation for lost earnings.
James Farrar, 47, from Hampshire, was formerly a software developer. In January 2015 he decided to start an NGO advocating better networked rights for workers. To support himself while working on his NGO, he decided to become an Uber driver.
However, just three months after he joined, Farrar was assaulted by a passenger during an Uber job. When the police wanted to investigate his case, Uber took 10 weeks to cooperate with the law and provide the details of the customer who assaulted him.
“I realised I had no rights. Uber has all the control, over the customer details, over how much I can charge, over which passengers I take, but I take all the risks. If I crash, get injured or assaulted, it’s all on me. I realised that if Uber didn’t cooperate, there’s nothing I could do about it,” Farrar, a founding member of the United Private Hire Drivers (UPHD) union, told IBTimes UK.
“When I went to talk to Uber about why it had taken 10 weeks, they were quite hostile to me. The head of driver operations accused me of trying to record the meeting and then said I was trying to ‘reverse engineer the process’. I don’t even know what that means.”
Weekly Uber earnings below the minimum wage.
Uber Accused Of Impeding NLRB Probe Into Labor Practices
March 4, 2016 – Federal officials have accused Uber in new court filings of failing to cooperate with an investigation into whether its drivers are employees or independent contractors.
Over the past few months the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has asked the ride-hailing giant to hand over a wide range of documents about the company’s employment practices after receiving several closely related complaints from drivers last year. In the complaints, workers allege that Uber’s contracts barring drivers from pursuing class-action lawsuits violate federal labor law. Before the board can rule on that question, however, it has to first determine that the drivers are employees — not independent contractors, as the company maintains. Only employees are covered by the law.
Apparently, the NLRB probe hasn’t made much headway: Uber, it says, is not cooperating. On Tuesday, the agency asked a federal judge in California to force the company to comply with two subpoenas it issued last December.
Men posing as Uber drivers tried to lure woman into their car
March 3, 2016 – Toronto police are investigating after a woman says she was approached by two men in a car who said they were Uber drivers and attempted to lure her into their car.
In a short Facebook post, Rebecca Rocklynn says that in the early morning hours of Valentine’s Day, two men drove up to her near the intersection of Yonge and Bloor Streets “and said ‘you call an Uber?'”
They asked her twice, before she accused them of lying. She hadn’t ordered an Uber.
“Then they said ‘get in the car,'” she wrote on Facebook.
She did not, and instead called police.
Toronto police confirmed to CBC News Thursday that they received a complaint from a woman who said she was approached by drivers claiming to be from Uber.
Uber and Airbnb under review by Nova Scotia government
March 2, 2016 – Nova Scotia is looking at the impact of companies like Airbnb and Uber to determine what impact they are having on existing business and whether the province needs to regulate them.
More and more people are booking accommodations through Airbnb, which allows members to rent out apartments, vacations homes or cottages for a fee. The Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia has long complained about unlicensed rentals available on Airbnb, because the association says the renters don’t pay taxes and don’t have to meet quality standards.
March 2, 2016 – “You spin it very well, but you’re peddling a myth — Uber is a success because you work outside a regulatory framework.”
Those stinging words from Mississauga Councillor Nando Iannicca, telling a representative of the popular ride-sharing service that his company’s product is like “illegal cigarettes” and “bootlegged” alcohol, set the tone for a contentious committee meeting Wednesday.
Mississauga council voted unanimously to direct Uber to halt operations in the city until a new bylaw to deal with “transportation network companies” is struck. But the Uber representative wouldn’t say whether the company will comply.
“We’ll take the time as a company to review the motion,” Chris Schafer, Uber Canada’s public policy manager, told the Star.
Iannicca told Schafer his company operates in an “underground economy.”
“Who’s paying taxes on (your revenue)? Nobody seems to know. At the end of the day it’s not your technology, it’s your ability to work outside a regulatory framework,” he said to Schafer, offering up his own reasons for the company’s extraordinary success.
Uber racked up big international losses during 2014 expansion
March2, 2016 – The international business of Uber, the U.S.-based ride-hailing service, lost $237-million (U.S.) in 2014, a big increase on a deficit of $31.9-million the previous year, as the company expanded around the globe.
The figures, the latest available, were disclosed in an official filing lodged with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce last month. Uber’s international headquarters are in Amsterdam.
Transportation minister ‘concerned’ by Uber’s plans to operate illegally
March 1, 2016 – Uber’s intention to operate illegally on the outskirts of Edmonton’s city limits came as a surprise to Transportation Minister Brian Mason.
“Is that what they’ve said? That’s very interesting,” Mason said when questioned about Uber’s plans to continue operations in outlying communities, including St. Albert.
“That’s a very interesting proposition. I had not been aware that Uber was going to try and deliberately operate against the law. That concerns me a great deal and we’ll be having some conversations with our officials.”
Mason said insurance delays, which have halted company operations Edmonton, apply province-wide.
“I’m concerned that Uber would say that they’re going to continue to operate illegally,” Mason said during a transit announcement in Edmonton on Tuesday morning.
Uber suspends service in Edmonton because government insurance policy not in place
March 1, 2016 – Uber has suspended its service in Edmonton because it doesn’t have an approved insurance plan in place as the city’s new ride-sharing regulations kicked in Tuesday.
“The province has cost thousands of Edmonton families a source of income by forcing Uber to suspend operations in the city,” Ramit Kar, Uber’s Alberta general manager, said in a statement.
“Given the city bylaw applies within the city limits of Edmonton, we will continue to enable ridesharing services in surrounding areas.”
Alberta Transportation Minister Brian Mason announced Monday the new insurance product Uber needs will not be approved in time for the deadline, even though the basic framework of the agreement is finished.
Lawyer for cabbies argues Uber’s impact on taxi market a ‘disaster’
February 29, 2016 – A court on Monday heard for the first time arguments on how Ottawa Uber drivers might fall outside the city’s taxi regulations, weeks before council sees the results of a critical bylaw review.
The local taxi union is asking a judge to ban drivers from using the Uber ride-ordering application to transport passengers. While the union’s lawyer, Sean McGee, described the “disaster” in the taxi market since Uber hit the streets, the lawyer representing several Uber drivers argued Uber vehicles and taxis are two completely different services.
Brian Elkin said Uber drivers don’t operate in the manner city-regulated cabs do: They don’t use taxi stands, they don’t accept curbside hails, and they don’t have to accept a ride request. While the taxi bylaw compels cabbies to have cameras installed inside their vehicles, Elkin pointed out Uber has a different safety system where passengers can see the driver’s picture and details of the vehicle on their smartphones.
McGee, on the other hand, said the city’s bylaw is simple: If you drive a vehicle for hire, you’re a cab and should follow with the rules. The bylaw requires anyone driving passengers for a fee to have a municipal taxi permit.
Mississauga Could Be the First GTA City to Legalize Uber
February 29, 2016 – For the past few months, the battle between the taxicab industry and Uber has been fraught with rancor and vitriol, leading to passionate protests on the part of the embattled cab industry in Toronto.
While the lion’s share of the theatrics have played out in The6ix, Uber has a presence in Mississauga and the city is noticing and taking steps to potentially regulate the popular company, along with other ride-sharing organizations.
According to a recent article in The Star, a staff report that’s set to be debated at a March 2 council meeting recommends an “equal regulation” option that would formally legalize services like UberX while still allowing the traditional cab industry to compete with the industrious newcomer.
Mayor Bonnie Crombie released a statement to The Star regarding the issue, telling the newspaper, “I have always maintained that we have to strike a balance between new technologies and an established industry that has a long history of providing quality service. It is important that we create a level playing field that allows for growth and progress within the industry, while protecting public safety.”
Uber Alberta says it will shut down Tuesday unless province agrees to changes
February 27, 2016 – The manager for Uber in Alberta says the ride-sharing app will cease operating in the province on Tuesday unless the provincial government makes insurance and licensing changes.
Ramit Kar told a demonstration of about 150 Uber supporters on the steps of the Alberta legislature on Saturday that the government must allow flexibility on requirements that drivers have commercial licences.
He says the province must also approve a ride-sharing insurance product that Uber has obtained from a private insurer.
Uber wants the changes in order to satisfy requirements passed by Edmonton Council that take effect on March 1.
Under the Edmonton bylaw, Uber drivers must carry provincially approved insurance, have an annual vehicle inspection and agree to a criminal record check.
Taking on Uber Quebec – with some help from the province
February 26, 2016 – Unless you’re Uber or one its lightly regulated drivers, you would probably think twice about getting into the taxi business these days. The company behind the near-ubiquitous ride-sharing app did not come to be valued at more than $60-billion (U.S.) by going easy on the competition.
Somehow, that has not deterred Montreal serial entrepreneur Alexandre Taillefer – best known locally for selling an early tech startup to Quebecor and starring in the Quebec version of Dragon’s Den – from choosing as his next act the intrepid challenge of running Uber out of the province.
He means to do it in the purest way possible – by outcompeting Uber, albeit with an assist from the provincial government. Mr. Taillefer is calling for a tax or fee of $1.10 to be slapped on every Uber ride in Quebec. The proceeds would flow into a fund to compensate the owners of traditional taxi plates, who have seen the value of their permits plummet with Uber’s entry.
“Not compensating these owners would amount to the pure and simple confiscation of their asset by the state,” Mr. Taillefer’s company, Taxelco, charged in a submission last week to the National Assembly’s transportation committee. It is holding special hearings into Uber in response to rising anti-Uber protests, including one that last month shut off traffic into Montreal’s airport.
All signs point to the provincial government, which took over primary responsibility for regulation of the taxi industry from municipalities in 1973, imposing some kind of new levy on Uber fares. Whether it will go as far as the Montreal Board of Trade’s recommendation that the government itself put up the money to buy out the owners of taxi plates remains to be seen.
February 26, 2016 – Mississauga could be the first city in the GTA to fully regulate Uber and other ride-hailing companies next week.
A staff report to be debated at a council meeting March 2 recommends an “equal regulation” option that would legalize cheaper but unlicensed services like UberX while allowing the traditional taxi industry to compete.
After Calgary approved new rules that Uber rejected last week, a similar move from Mississauga is likely to be closely watched at Toronto city hall, where staff are in the midst of drafting their own regulations.
“I have always maintained that we have to strike a balance between new technologies and an established industry that has a long history of providing quality service,” Mayor Bonnie Crombie said in a statement to the Star.
“It is important that we create a level playing field that allows for growth and progress within the industry, while protecting public safety.”
But the newly proposed rules are being criticized by both the industry and Uber.
In a move modeled after Calgary’s regulations, Mississauga city staff have recommended creating a separate category of licence that would require Uber drivers to get the same police background check and training as traditional drivers and provide proof of English literacy as well as obtaining “equivalent” insurance. Drivers would also be required to provide proof of vehicle inspection every six months.
Brampton calls on Uber to suspend ride-sharing service
February 24, 2016 – Brampton city council jumped into the Uber fray on Wednesday as they called on Uber to suspend some services and requested staff step up enforcement against unlicensed drivers.
But with no plans to challenge Uber in court, Brampton’s politicians may now find themselves in the middle of a tug-of-war that has seized Toronto and other major cities across the country.
In their first formal move against Uber, the 11-member council voted unanimously to request the company suspend UberX operations “in a show of good faith” while city staff review the regulations governing taxis and limousines. But that motion is not binding on Uber, which has largely refused to suspend operations in other cities, including Toronto.
Uber Canada gave no assurances they plan to comply with council’s request. When asked directly if they would, Uber Canada spokesperson Susie Heath said they “look forward to continuing our work with officials in Brampton to modernize regulations to encourage innovation, put people first and create safe, reliable and affordable transportation options.”
While Uber has disrupted taxi markets around the world by letting users connect to licensed cabs through a mobile phone app, it more controversially also offers rides in unlicensed cars at a discount through UberX.
Compensate taxi drivers if permits are abolished, Coderre tells National Assembly hearings
February 24, 2016 – QUEBEC — Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre warned the transport minister Wednesday against abolishing taxi permits and opening up the market to Uber without first compensating taxi drivers, many of whom have mortgaged their homes to buy a permit.
“The game in all of this, which is major, is that you have people who invested $1.3 billion in permits. Scrapping that, liberalizing too quickly, what kind of social impact will it have?” Coderre asked.
“If you want to take permits away, then pay for it,” he said, adding the taxi industry is bread and butter for 22,000 Montreal families.
The Couillard government is currently holding committee hearings into the future of Quebec’s taxi industry. It is studying ways to regulate ride-hailing companies such as Uber, a new player that operates without taxi permits, and minimal insurance and inspection costs.
Uber has a popular app that connects riders to nearby drivers using their own vehicles. The company says it takes on average four minutes to get an Uber car in Montreal.
On Tuesday, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, Germain Belzile from the HEC business school and Vincent Geloso, a PhD student at the London School of Economics, recommended the province open up the market to new technologies and buy back permits from taxi drivers “at a reasonable price.”
Regional vehicle-for-hire bylaw could regulate Uber, taxis and limos
February 23, 2016 – Waterloo Region needs a bylaw to regulate ride-hailing services like Uber and can’t afford to wait any longer for the provincial government to take action, says regional councillor Jane Mitchell.
Mitchell, chair of the region’s licensing and hearings committee, says that with no sign of any regulating measures from the Ontario government, it’s time the region put in place its own “vehicle-for-hire” bylaw, bringing taxis, limousines and services like Uber and Lyft under a single legal umbrella.
“Uber is presently illegal and [it] has been here since July. As far as the people who are doing the legal thing, which is the taxis and the limousines, particularly the taxis– they’re getting very concerned that Uber gets [a] free ride and is going into their livelihood,” Mitchell told CBC Radio’s The Morning Edition host Craig Norris on Tuesday.
Uber says it won’t return to Calgary after council passes new bylaw
February 23, 2016 – Uber says it won’t return to Calgary after council approved a new bylaw allowing so-called ride-share companies to legally operate in the city later this year.
In a 14-1 vote, city council passed what Mayor Naheed Nenshi described as a “21st century” model other cities could emulate as ride-sharing becomes an increasingly popular alternative to traditional cabs.
“This isn’t about Uber,” Nenshi told reporters after council’s decision. “Let’s think about the fact that we’ve completely modernized the taxi bylaw without a single protest, which hasn’t happened in any other city.”
The brash U.S.-based company, which stormed Calgary streets last fall, earlier warned the proposed bylaw is “unworkable” and would prevent it from operating in the city.
February 23, 2016 – QUEBEC — Taxi drivers in Quebec will inevitably lose money when the province moves to modernize its law on transportation services by taxi, the president of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal told National Assembly hearings Tuesday evening.
“If I were a taxi driver with a permit bought at its highest value ($200,000), I would be nervous right now,” Michel Leblanc said, adding the inflated price of taxi permits reminds him of the Internet bubble at the end of the 1990s.
“A very high number of Canadians invested in Nortel in those days and they lost part of their money, and the thing I wanted to highlight with that is that whenever you make an investment in life, you run the risk of making lots of money or losing some or all of the investments.”
Leblanc said popular ride-sharing companies that connect riders and drivers via apps, such as Uber, “have arrived” and Quebec needs to wake up. The province should buy back permits “at a reasonable price,” around $20,000, and/or impose a special tax on Uber users, as was done in Edmonton ($0.06/ride) to compensate traditional taxi drivers.
At least two other groups told the committee Quebec should move full-steam ahead with liberalizing the market.
Fear, loathing and resignation: How Uber’s shadow looms over Metro Vancouver’s troubled taxi industry
Out in “the weeds,” the cabbies all have different ideas about the changes on the horizon.
A three-minute drive up a service road from where taxis queue at the Vancouver International Airport’s terminal to pick up passengers, 100 to 150 cabs wait in a lot that drivers call the weeds, lined up in rows like cars waiting to board a ferry.
At one end of the lot, behind a large electric sign displaying flight info, drivers inside a single-storey clubhouse play chess, use the designated prayer room, and chat over the lunch tables. Outside, cabbies mill between the rows of cars, talking to each other. One topic seems to come up over and over.
It’s a time of unprecedented uncertainty in the taxi world here, in North America’s largest market without so-called “ride-sharing” companies.
The largest of those companies is Uber, which connects passengers via their smartphones with a range of transportation options, including limousine-style services, carpooling and part-time chauffeurs driving their own personal vehicles.
Out in the weeds, the cabbies — depending on their age, experience and personal situation — talk about Uber with a combination of fear, loathing and resignation.
What the Michigan shooting spree reveals about Uber’s background checks
February 21, 2016 – Authorities said they are investigating whether Uber driver Jason Brian Dalton may have given a harrowing ride to a passenger shortly before embarking on a shooting spree in Kalamazoo, Mich., that killed six — and that they are looking into whether Dalton may have continued picking up fares in the middle of his rampage.
Ultimately, investigators may decide that there was no reliable way to predict that Dalton would, during a single shift on the job, morph from his identity as a driver into his role as a mass killer. Police say Dalton didn’t have a criminal history.
An Uber spokesman confirmed Dalton had been working with the company and said he had passed a background check required for drivers employed by the company. The person declined to say how long Dalton had been driving for Uber.
The incident came just weeks after Uber settled two class-action lawsuits for $28.5 million after the company was accused of exaggerating the safety of its background checks. Despite using phrases such as “safest ride on the road” and “industry-leading background checks,” the suits claimed, the company did not check drivers against the national sex-offender registry or employ fingerprint identification.
“We learned of systemic failures in Uber’s background checks,” San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said in reference to the lawsuits, according to Forbes. “We have learned they have drivers who are convicted sex offenders, thieves, burglars, kidnappers and a convicted murder.”
“This is only really scratching the surface,” he added.
Uber says it ‘just can’t operate’ in Calgary under new bylaw before council Monday
February 19, 2016 – After blocking Uber with a court injunction last year, Calgary has drafted a bylaw that it says would allow the ride-hailing service to resume operations in the city — but the company is already rejecting the new rules as a non-starter.
“If this is the rideshare bylaw that goes through, we will not be able to operate,” said Ramit Kar, Uber’s general manager for Alberta.
City council is set to vote Monday on the revised bylaw, but Kar is calling on councillors to send it back to city staff for further revisions.
The new bylaw has been months in the making, ever since a judge granted the city’s request for an injunction against Uber last November after the company unilaterally launched its lowest-cost ride-hailing service, UberX, in Calgary in October.
Quebec says Uber should start respecting laws before asking for reforms
February 19, 2016 – Uber should start respecting the law before it asks for legislative reforms that suit its interests, Transport Minister Jacques Daoust said Thursday during the first day of hearings into the future of the taxi industry.
Daoust said the ride-hailing company has an unacceptable attitude and continued to level stinging criticism at Uber during the legislative committee hearings in Quebec City.
“It’s been a thousand times we’ve seized your company’s vehicles and you say: ‘The law doesn’t apply to me, I won’t listen to it.’ You are not looking for a solution, you are looking for a confrontation and you risk receiving one,” Daoust said.
Sitting across from him during the hearing was the head of Uber in Quebec, Jean-Nicolas Guillemette, who also received sharp rebukes from other politicians on the committee.
Daoust told Guillemette that if his company wanted the government to create rules governing ride-sharing services to work alongside the traditional taxi industry, he would have to start respecting the state.
“The legislature, it exists to make laws,” Daoust said. “You’re in the house where we make laws and what you’re saying is: ’Until I like the laws I won’t respect them,’ and for me, sir, that’s unacceptable. We will be the ones to impose a model on you.”
Earlier on Thursday Daoust said Uber should publicly disclose data that would permit the Quebec government to recoup taxes from the ride-hailing company since it began operating in the province.
“When we’re talking about 300,000 (monthly) transactions, that’s a lot of money that should be taxed,” Daoust said.
Taxi union asks court to ban drivers from using Uber app in Ottawa
February 18, 2016 – The union representing the city’s taxi drivers wants a judge to put the brakes on Uber drivers in Ottawa, prompting the multinational ride-ordering company to accuse cabbies of protectionism.
The union is seeking an injunction against drivers using the Uber application to pick up fee-paying passengers.
Amrik Singh, president of the taxi union, said he believes the public would prefer cabbies using legal channels in their fight against Uber rather than disruptive action witnessed in other cities and in Ottawa during the airport taxi dispute.
“I think public should be happy that we’re not blocking the road,” Singh said Thursday.
The city is reviewing its taxi bylaw to see how Uber could be folded into the regulatory system, but the taxi union says it can’t wait for politicians to take action. Uber drivers continue to cut into cabbies’ livelihoods, Singh said
“We have to look other ways to stop them,” he said.
Uber ruling out move to B.C. until province can develop regulations
February 16, 2016 – Ride-sharing service Uber says it is ruling out any move into British Columbia before the province decides how to manage such operations.
Uber has encountered criticism almost everywhere it has expanded. The company has launched in several Canadian cities over the objections of local governments and before regulatory regimes can be put in place. Its drivers have faced fines in cities such as Toronto and Ottawa. And hundreds of cabbies in Montreal last week held protests in traffic against what they see as the threat of Uber.
Susie Heath, the company’s Canadian spokeswoman, said Uber has seen some progress working with local officials, citing the City of Edmonton’s recent decision to adopt regulations that will allow Uber to operate there.
February 12, 2016 – Latest round of Uber price cuts accelerate the “race to the bottom.”
Customer service and vehicle safety will decline as drivers try to make up for less revenue.
This is the exact pattern NYC faced in the 1930s and why the Haas Act was passed.
Taxi medallion financial industry players, like lenders, will reap the benefits.
The glory days of Uber (Private:UBER) are over. Uber is facing increasing headwinds as it enters 2016. Recent developments may be good news for taxi medallion financial industry players and those considering investing in Uber privately or a possible IPO should be cautious.
Uber should be regulated like taxis, say Canadians in new poll
February 12th, 2016 – A majority of Canadians believe the ride-sharing service Uber should be subject to the same regulations as taxis, a new poll suggests.
The survey, conducted by the Angus Reid Institute and published Friday, indicates 63 per cent of Canadians feel the government should regulate Uber the same way it regulates taxis, while just 37 per cent said that Uber should be allowed to continue operating without those regulations.
The poll comes shortly after taxi drivers in Toronto called off a strike that might have disrupted the NBA All-Star Game scheduled for this weekend. Taxi protests have also erupted in other parts of the country, most notably in Montreal this week.
Uber is currently barred in Vancouver, Canada’s third largest city. But the poll suggests the vast majority of Canadians are open to Uber operating in their communities.
One-third of respondents said “yes, definitely” to Uber operating where they live, while another 40 per cent said “maybe, under the right circumstances.” Only 17 per cent of Canadians surveyed said Uber should not be allowed to operate in their communities.
Uber Agrees to Settle Class-Action Suit Over Safety Claims
February 11, 2016 -Uber has agreed to pay $28.5 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that took issue with the company’s claims that its driver background checks were “industry leading.”
The terms of the settlement, filed on Thursday in the United States District Court in the Northern District of California, require Uber to pay roughly 25 million riders across the United States and to reword the language around the fee that the company charges for each ride.
Uber will rename the fee, called the “safe ride fee,” to a “booking fee.” The ride-hailing company said it would use the fee to “cover safety as well as additional operational costs that could arise in the future.” Lyft, a main Uber rival, has made a similar change, Uber said.
“No means of transportation can ever be 100 percent safe. Accidents and incidents do happen,” Uber said in a statement. “That’s why it’s important to ensure that the language we use to describe safety at Uber is clear and precise.”
The settlement brings to a close a suit that was filed by Matthew Philliben and Byron McKnight in 2014 over whether Uber misrepresented the level of scrutiny it uses when recruiting drivers, who must pass background checks conducted through a third-party service.
Earlier in 2014, a New York Times article found that Uber and Lyft were actively lobbying against fingerprint-based background checks in courthouses across the country. At the time, lawmakers said that in the rush to add drivers to their services, Uber and Lyft chose speed over quality in background checks.
Uber complains city council’s ‘unworkable rules’ will prevent them from coming to Calgary
We believe Calgary has set a standard that looks at keeping peoples safety a priority. Uber needs to accept that having criminals drive taxis in uninsured cars and not paying taxes is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
February 9, 2016 – Uber complains city council’s ‘unworkable rules’ will prevent them from coming to Calgary
CALGARY – Ride-sharing service Uber is blasting Calgary’s city council in a letter sent to their subscribers on Monday.
In the message, Uber states that although they’ve made meaningful progress in Alberta with Edmonton adopting ride-sharing regulations, here in Calgary “things don’t look so good.”
“Despite our efforts to work collaboratively, city staff have drafted unworkable rules that would prevent us from coming to Calgary.”
Uber is concerned about amendments to the Livery Transport Bylaw which would force drivers to undergo a police background check, be properly insured, hold a proper Class 4 licence and have their vehicle undergo safety checks.
The company complains the proposed rules “create too much red tape.”
Addison Lee is taking the fight against Uber to the Big Apple
February 8, 2016 – To an outsider Addison Lee might look like a company that’s losing momentum. Disruptive rival Uber has burst on to the scene, and defied recent attempts (in the UK, at least) to use the strong arm of regulators to clip its wings.
But Addison Lee insists that it had a great Christmas, and the minicab giant is about to launch an aggressive expansion campaign.
Under former chief exec Liam Griffin, Addison Lee described Uber’s system as the “worst of all possible worlds” as part of last year’s efforts to convince Transport for London to crack down on the tech firm – but new boss Andy Boland is ready to compete, rather than complain.
Passengers don’t just want cheap, Boland says – they want higher standards too.
“We want a level playing field,” Boland tells City A.M. “We were being held to a set of requirements that Uber was not.”
Boland was brought in almost four months ago to lead the company’s fight against Uber, replacing Griffin who remains on the board as vice chairman, having been with the company for 20 years. Last month TfL opted to move forward with only the lightest of regulations, throwing out calls for the San Francisco mini cab app to be forced to wait five minutes before starting a journey once the car had been booked, and requiring it to offer a pre-booking service.
Uber drivers working up to 19 hours a day just to get by
February 7, 2016 – The city’s Uber drivers stay behind the wheel up to 19 hours a day to make ends meet, and say the company’s new fare cuts could make things even worse for them — and put passengers at risk.
“I have to work 16 hours a day to make enough money to support my family,’’ said Jugal Hinwar, 28, who has been an Uber driver for two years. “Last week, I worked 19 hours in one day, and I slept in the car at JFK.”
Another driver, Siraj Khondker, 55, described the dangers.
“It’s not good for us or for the passengers,” he said. “Your brain gets tired. Your eyes get tired. You can fall asleep. I am driving so I have to be focused, and I have to be alert or accidents can happen.”
Uber allows its drivers to work up to 100 hours a week, or an average of 14 hours and 15 minutes a day. That’s two hours more than the city’s yellow cabbies are allowed to be behind the wheel.
The Uber drivers say they have to work such long hours because they make much less money than they used to, since there are so many more of them on the streets.
And now that the company has slashed prices by 15 percent, the drivers gripe that they’re feeling the pinch even more.
More than 300 Uber drivers protested at the city’s airports last week, saying that the rate slash, along with the company hiring many more hacks, is hurting their ability to make a living.
Council says no to seeking injunction against Uber, for now
February 3rd, 2016 – Toronto city council voted Wednesday not to seek a court injunction against Uber and individual UberX drivers right now, but has left the door open to pursue that course of action in the future.
The city’s licensing and standards committee had asked council to seek the injunction. However, the city’s legal department argued against pursuing that course of action now, saying it was unlikely it would be heard by the courts before new taxi rules go before council in April.
With city staff working to draft new bylaws aimed at bringing UberX into the city’s regulatory fold, city solicitor Anna Kinastowski said pursuing an injunction now would likely be a waste of time.
“Any injunction application if brought today would not be heard until the summer at the earliest,” she told council. “All of these things take time.”
Staff from the city’s legal department said they are continuing to issue tickets to some of the estimated 20,000 UberX drivers operating illegally.
At Wednesday’s council meeting, Mayor John Tory agreed with the city’s lawyers, saying an injunction should wait until it’s more likely to be successful.
“If you go forward a second time and lose, you weaken your position,” he said.
Ottawa examines challenges of ‘disruptive’ expanding sharing economy
February 1, 2016 – OTTAWA—Companies like Uber and Airbnb were the subject of a quiet in-depth study by high-ranking federal bureaucrats, the Star has learned.
A committee of five deputy ministers and a team of analysts undertook a comprehensive study of the so-called sharing economy and its implications for Canadian policy-makers and consumers.
The study, delivered to the committee in February 2015, found significant challenges for government regulation of the notoriously slippery and ever-expanding industry of ride sharing, apartment renting and other peer-to-peer transactions.
“The fact that the sharing economy will create winners and losers is obvious,” the report reads. “What remains to be determined is what the overall impact will be on Canadian society and the degree to which proactive government responses can positively shape the outcomes of sharing economy.”
The report listed three broad areas of concern: the economy, labour and social issues and “privacy, health and safety.”
Its authors noted that Canada’s social safety net — including the employment insurance and old age security systems — may need to be “redesigned” to meet the needs of sharing-economy workers. Likewise, the risk of unreported income from those workers could lead to tax compliance issues and, eventually, a hit to social services.
Toronto Taxi Alliance applauds Brampton mayor’s actions on bandit cabs
BRAMPTON, ON, Feb. 1, 2016 /CNW/ – The Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA) today applauded Brampton Mayor Linda Jeffrey for her principled stance against illegal, unlicensed and unregulated bandit cabs in that city.
“Congratulations and commendations to Brampton Mayor Linda Jeffrey for showing leadership in her municipality, and support for the legal taxi industry,” says TTA spokesperson Sam Moini. “In Toronto, we have been waiting since October 1st for the City to take action against UberX, an unregulated service operating illegally and without insurance. Toronto has refused to fulfill its obligations to enforce the law. Mayor Jeffrey is showing how it can be done.
“Brampton is engaged in a very interesting and progressive debate, as it recognizes that illegal bandit cabs such as UberX take advantage of city infrastructure and services while contributing nothing to its tax base,” Moini notes.
Illegal, unlicensed and unregulated ride sharing operators have popped up all over the country using municipal roads developed and maintained by local taxpayers.
“At a time when all municipalities are scrambling to access every dollar they can to protect programming, these companies use infrastructure paid for by taxpayers, without contributing one dime,” Moini notes. “In the case of Uber, every fare collected is immediately transferred to the Netherlands for processing. None of it is reinvested in local communities where they operate.”
In a letter sent to Peel Taxi Alliance vice president Joe Farrugia on January 22nd, Mayor Jeffrey stated, “Ride sharing companies that are operating without proper licensing in our community have not made any investment from which they derive their income. This is patently unfair to all Brampton taxpayers.”
Taxi Associations call upon Aviva to make new insurance available to cab drivers, report on product sales
TORONTO, Feb. 1, 2016 /CNW/ – The Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA) today repeated requests for information it sent to Aviva’s CEO on January 29th.
In a letter to Aviva CEO Greg Sommerville signed by TTA President Gail Souter and Canadian Taxicab Association (CTA) President Marc Andre Way, the TTA and CTA wrote:
“We in the legal, regulated taxi industry are perplexed as to how it is possible for any Ontario insurance company to insure an illegal activity, such as UberX. In fact, one of our city councillors has written Finance Minister Charles Sousa to inquire as to how his ministry could approve an insurance product for an activity which violates the Highway Traffic Act.”
Edmonton becomes first city in Canada to pass Uber-friendly bylaw
January 28th, 2016 – Edmonton became the first city in Canada to pass an Uber-friendly bylaw Wednesday, leaving the California-based company scrambling to get provincially approved insurance before a March 1 deadline.
“I’m optimistic on the insurance front and quite frankly, we’re going to be doing everything we can to be in compliance by March 1,” said Uber’s general manager for Alberta, Ramit Kar.
He wouldn’t say what will happen if the company isn’t.
Alberta’s Superintendent of Insurance ruled last July that Uber’s existing policy does not adequately cover consumers. Since then, at least two insurers have said they are working on policies specific to ride-sharing. None has been approved so far.
Uber can’t get a licence under the new bylaw without provincially approved insurance, and an Uber driver caught without it could face a $5,000 fine.
Edmonton officials are hiring additional bylaw officers to ensure effective enforcement and say the the new bylaw will stand up in court if the city is forced to seek an injunction.
‘I nearly passed out’: A $640 Uber ride for a 30-mile trip to the airport
The problem with Uber surge pricing is how tricky it is to understand the final price…why not just show the actual range on the surge pricing..it’s trickery.
January 27th – Bonnie Lieb said she expected to pay more than usual for an Uber ride from her Sterling, Virginia, home to Reagan National Airport Monday morning. With her car still covered in two feet of snow and her street unplowed, she said, she agreed to pay the Uber surge price of 4.4 times the normal fare.
Neighbours had said an Uber ride to the airport typically cost $50 to $70, so she figured she had agreed to pay about $250 — expensive for a 30-mile trip, but she had to get to Denver for a client meeting.
So Lieb said she was floored when she got through the security checkpoint at Reagan, checked her email and saw her emailed Uber receipt: $640.94 had been charged to her American Express card.
“I nearly passed out,” Lieb, president of the Sage marketing and communications agency, recalled in a phone-call from Denver on Tuesday. “I thought ‘This can’t be right. This has to be a mistake. This is ridiculous.'”
Uber says there wasn’t any mistake. Lieb, a company spokesperson said, ordered the Uber SUV service — the most expensive option. That base rate, it turns out, was $144.76, not the $50 or so cost of the cheaper Uber X option that her neighbours might have used. So the 4.4x surge charge did, indeed, add up to $640.94.
Uber Loosens Background Check Policy For California Drivers
The idea of a convicted criminal driving around kids and families unsupervised in a car that could easily be used as a get away car is very scary to us at the CTA.
Ride-hailing giant Uber is reconsidering its background check policy for drivers in California—and it’s not making it stricter.
In fact, Uber has decided to no longer reject applicants with records of certain non-violent or non-sexual offenses, such as petty theft and check fraud, the company told the Wall Street Journal. Presumably, Uber is loosening its stance only on certain misdemeanor—meaning, legally less severe—crimes, not felonies, though that’s not entirely clear.
In December, Uber said everything was going great, thank you very much. Their drivers were fine, according to an internal survey they distributed, reporting an 81% satisfaction rate. But internal satisfaction reports don’t satisfy everyone — especially The Rideshare Guy, a former engineer who now drives for Uber and Lyft and blogs about the intricacies of the ride-sharing market.
The Rideshare Guy, whose name is Harry Campbell, conducted his own survey, which polled 435 drivers from both Lyft and Uber, and found some slightly different statistics — only 48.4% of his drivers said they “agreed” or “strongly agreed” with the claim that they were satisfied with Uber.
Uber has drawn a lot of flak since its start in 2009, riding the growing wave of the sharing economy in major cities. Traditional cab drivers in London, New York, and other major cities hate the service, saying it undercuts their prices and pays less in taxes.
Taxi drivers want class action lawsuit against Uber
Taxi drivers are seeking permission to launch a class action lawsuit against Uber.
The Steelworkers Union, which represents 4,000 taxi drivers, announced Wednesday they are applying to court for permission to sue the on-demand car service Uber and the provincial government.
Lawyer Marc-Antoine Cloutier will represent the union in its legal battle.
The provincial government has been criticized for demanding taxi drivers in Quebec obtain special permits and licenses to practice their trade, but yet turn a blind eye to drivers working for Uber doing the same thing.
Uber has said it has no employees, but instead calls all of its on-demand drivers independent contractors.
Cheap cab ride? You must have missed Uber’s true cost
To understand why we see so few genuine alternatives to US technology giants, it’s instructive to compare the fate of a company like Uber – valued at more than $62.5bn (£44bn) – and that of Kutsuplus, an innovative Finnish startup forced to shut down late last year.
Kutsuplus’s aspiration was to be the Uber of public transport: it operated a network of minibuses that would pick up and drop passengers anywhere in Helsinki, with smartphones, algorithms and the cloud deployed to maximise efficiency, cut costs and provide a slick public service. Being a spinoff of a local university that operated on a shoestring budget, Kutsuplus did not have rich venture capitalists behind it. This, perhaps, is what contributed to its demise: the local transport authority found it too expensive, despite impressive year-on-year growth of 60%.
There was a report yesterday on the price wars between Uber USA LLC and Lyft, Inc. According to Bloomberg, in a price war with rival Lyft, Uber reduced its rates by 10 – 45 percent in 100 cities across North America. Can Uber continue to be darling that represents the cloud, mobile, social generation of unicorns? Or is Uber representing the next crash?
During the dotcom bubble, Webvan Group, Inc. was the company that signified that collapse. Will Uber be this generation’s Webvan? Is Uber at risk of going out of business?
After reading the Bloomberg report, I see as some issues with Uber that got me thinking about their profit plans.
The drivers aren’t making any money, even on a variable basis. When you consider that they’re raking up almost 100,000 miles per year, and most of them just started a couple of months ago, so that the major costly repairs have yet to show up on their maintenance budgets — it’s going to be even worse for the drivers.
Still, Uber is doing so poorly that it’s slashing rates. Is that what a healthy $62 billion valuation company does? Shouldn’t a company like that have pricing power?
In 1Q of 2015, they lost $385 million on $287 million in revenue.
In 3Q of 2015, they lost $697 million on $498 million in revenue.
For the first nine months of 2015, they lost $1.7 billion on $1.2 billion in revenue.
The National Limousine Association & The “Big Game” 50: Putting Uber in its Place
NEW YORK, Jan. 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — The National Limousine Association (NLA) is proud to provide the safest and most trusted private car transportation to the “Big Game” 50. In addition to fully trained and vetted drivers, NLA operators will offer the smarter solution for transportation to and from the “Big Game,” including prime proximity to the stadium entrance, unlike ride-hailing services (e.g. Uber). Furthermore, the “surge pricing” that ride-hailing services typically impose on passengers during popular events is forbidden within the National Limousine Association. As partners of the “Big Game” since the first kickoff in 1967, NLA members are committed to preserving the integrity of the ground transportation industry and the safety of passengers and drivers.
Bargain-basement Uber fares in Ottawa might be great for customers, but some drivers are quietly griping about the price cuts ordered by headquarters.
The ride-sharing company has made it an annual tradition to cut prices at the beginning of the year. It was no different last week when Uber lowered rates in 100 North American cities, including Ottawa.
Glen, Ottawa’s first-ever Uber driver who doesn’t divulge his last name, said local drivers didn’t get a heads-up from headquarters about the price cut. Other drivers with whom he spoke said they learned about the discounted rate through passengers.
He believes the reduced rates might increase ridership, but drivers are shouldering a big expense for trying to do a volume business while offering perks to passengers, like satellite radio, gum and bottled water.
“Even if we are moving around more, picking up more fares at this reduced rate, that means our operational expenses go up for moving more,” Glen said.
Uber drivers in Ontario who signed up with Uber after last Aug. 14 retain 75% of each uberX fare. Veteran Uber drivers were grandfathered into the new fees and they still keep 80% of each uberX fare.
Christy Clark appoints TransLink minister to consult on Uber
January 25, 2016 – British Columbia’s Premier has appointed Peter Fassbender, the minister responsible for TransLink, to talk to municipalities and other stakeholders about how to handle Uber and other ride-sharing services – an issue causing turmoil in the taxi industry and among some municipalities.
“Peter Fassbender is now beginning a consultation and really getting down, at a granular level, to people’s thoughts about it and see if we can put it together,” Premier Christy Clark said Monday.
The province has previously raised concerns about Uber and warned the company not to launch.
The issue resurfaced last week when Transportation Minister Todd Stone said such services are inevitable. Ms. Clark’s B.C. Liberal Party appeared to come out in support of the “sharing economy” in a provincial by-election campaign.
Ms. Clark said Uber and other ride-sharing services are new to to the government, which faces the challenge of figuring out how to regulate them.
Uber has not applied to the provincial regulators for approval to operate in B.C., although Mr. Stone has encouraged the company to do so.
UberTaxi gets a brokerage licence despite ride-sharing controversy
The city says Uber Canada is now operating as a legal taxi brokerage in Toronto despite continuing to illegally connect riders to unlicensed drivers.
On Friday, Uber announced it had received its taxi brokerage licence after applying in May amid ongoing controversy about bringing the company under the same city rules as traditional taxi companies.
Members of the taxi industry criticized that move, saying little has changed and Uber still isn’t following the rules. Council will consider next month whether to take the company to court again.
Uber, which links riders with available cabs through its UberTaxi service on a mobile app, also offers cheaper rides through unlicensed drivers using the UberX service on the same app.
“This is another step towards our participation in a comprehensive regulatory solution that includes ride-sharing,” Uber Canada spokesperson Susie Heath said in a statement. “We will continue to work with the City of Toronto towards new regulations for ride-sharing, which are expected in the coming months.”
Tracey Cook, the head of the city’s municipal licensing and standards division, drew a distinction between the two services, saying she considers UberTaxi now properly operating as a legal taxi brokerage.
“For the purposes of dispatching or connecting licensed City of Toronto taxi cabs under UberTaxi, that is lawfully permitted under the taxi cab brokerage licence,” Cook said, while confirming that UberX and its drivers are still operating illegally.
The car-hailing phenom is viewed by many as the model for the 21st century corporation. You should see how state-of-the-art it is when it comes to minimizing its tax bill.
The VCs were desperate to give him more money. It was the spring of 2013, and Uber CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick was weeks away from negotiating a new round of venture capital financing that would multiply the valuation of his car-hailing startup by a factor of 10—from a mere $330 million to $3.5 billion. The line plotting Uber’s growth was turning vertical, and the company needed capital to match. But first Kalanick needed to do a little planning. Tax planning, that is.
In May, Uber formed a new business entity in the Netherlands called Uber International C.V. Over the next few weeks Kalanick’s San Francisco startup executed a flurry of transactions that shifted ownership of several foreign subsidiaries to Uber International C.V. and formed an agreement with the Dutch business to split the profits from Uber’s intellectual property. By mid-June, Uber was ready to continue with its dizzying rise, but with one critical difference: From that point on, nearly all its ride-share income outside the U.S. would be effectively shielded from U.S. taxes.
Uber to Help California Ex-Felons Qualify for Driver Gigs
Uber Technologies Inc. says it’s trying to help people convicted of non-violent felonies in California get jobs as drivers.
The company said Wednesday it’s steering prospective drivers with felony convictions to organizations that can help get their criminal offenses downgraded to misdemeanors through a process created by a voter-approved initiative.
The move comes while Uber fights a lawsuit by elected district attorneys in San Francisco and Los Angeles who claim the company’s criminal background checks for drivers failed to prevent it from hiring registered sex offenders, identity thieves, burglars, a kidnapper and a convicted murderer.
The world’s most valuable startup says it’s easing its qualifications for drivers from a “social justice angle” and not seeking to expand its workforce. The company said the change will only affect a small number of people.
Region calling on Queen’s Park for Uber regulations
Niagara Region is looking to drive change at the provincial level.
Council is calling on the province to develop ridesharing legislation to regulate companies such as Uber in Ontario.
Grimsby Coun. Tony Quirk initiated the call to action with a motion during Thursday night’s council meeting.
While he stressed he respects the work being done by the Niagara Regional Police services board to find a solution to the issue that is “Niagara-centric,” he believes the discussion needs to be had at the provincial level.
He fears each community solving the problem on its own terms will result in “a patchwork of regulations across the province.”
“That does not make good business sense for companies that want to come in and take a look at it.”
Uber calls on City of Edmonton to revamp proposed ride-share fees
Uber is optimistic the city will back down on a proposed $920 per-driver fee and replace it with a small per-ride fee that would be passed on to customers.
Uber says the fee, to be paid every two years in the bylaw proposed last year, was so high it would force the ride-sharing company out of Edmonton. Officials are hoping a revamped bylaw would follow American jurisdictions that charge up to 50 cents per ride, a fee customers would see on their bill.
“I’m actually very optimistic. We’re in a good place,” said Ramit Kar, general manager for Uber in Alberta.
Edmonton officials have not confirmed that proposal is being considered. The text for the proposed bylaw amendments is expected to be released Jan. 21, before the Jan. 26 city council meeting. The city’s position is that Uber is currently operating illegally.
Uber fined $7.6 million in California for failure to report driver data
Uber has been fined $7.6 million by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for a failure to report data on its drivers, according to the Los Angeles Times. The ride-hail company said it plans to appeal the decision to the state’s Court of Appeals, but will pay the fine in the meantime to avoid having its license suspended.
The fine stems from a July 2015 recommendation from an administrative law judge that Uber be fined and suspended from operating in California for the failure to report driver data, as required under a 2013 state law legalizing ride-hail apps. The judge contended that Uber’s drivers were not doling out rides fairly to all passengers, regardless of where they live.
The fine was leveled at Rasier-CA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Uber Technologies, for “failure to fully and timely comply with the CPUC’s reporting requirements,” according to a statement from the utility. The company was also held in contempt and fined an additional $1,000.
Uber versus taxis: Who’s lobbying whom at Toronto city hall
There’s been no shortage of public political posturing in Toronto’s battle over who’s allowed to drive you places for money and what happens if local governments can’t or won’t enforce their own bylaws.
But much of the jockeying takes place behind closed doors — in meetings, phone calls or email exchanges between councillors, policy-makers and those hoping to sway them.
The city has pledged to figure out, some time in the next several months, how and whether to regulate Uber and cab companies. But before that Global News looked at who’s been lobbying whom at Toronto city hall.
Uber now approving applications for drivers with certain criminal records
Ride-sharing service Uber is opening the door for more even more drivers to get jobs with the popular company with controversial reforms to its background check.
“There are some really good men and women who are untapped resources – human capital ready, willing and able to go to work if not for having the background issue,” Mark Loranger, Chrysalis President and CEO, said.
Loranger’s non-profit helps low-income job seekers find employment. He is partnering with Uber to let his clients know about the new opportunity.
In order to comply with California’s Proposition 47 – Uber will allow applicants with non-violent and non-sexual criminal backgrounds to apply for a job if they can get their felony conviction dropped down to a misdemeanor through the courts.
Uber in Victoria? Company hints it could come to BC’s capital
For the first time, tech giant Uber has mentioned Victoria as a perfect candidate for its ride-sharing services.
The company says ride-sharing could work in B.C. cities beyond Metro Vancouver, including Kelowna, Kamloops – and the capital.
Uber operates in dozens of Canadian cities, but the company has been embroiled in a bitter war over legislation on the West Coast.
Regardless, the value of Uber has reached $51 billion and they seem to find themselves in the news nearly every day. Their brand is absolutely unavoidable. And it does offer the best service at the best price point. Market competition has spoken, end of story, right? Maybe. Maybe not.
Edmonton judge overturns decision; Uber driver heading to trial
EDMONTON – It turns out an Edmonton Uber driver legal issues aren’t over.
On Jan. 7, 2015, Barinder Sandu was charged with operating a business without a licence and operating a vehicle for hire without a taxi plate.
Sandhu was acquitted of the charges, but the decision has been overturned by Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Donna Shelley.
At trial, Sandhu admitted he told a city employee posing as an Uber customer that he was an Uber driver on the day he was charged. Sandhu parked his vehicle at 101 Street and Jasper Avenue when he was approached by the clerk.
She told the 39-year-old driver that her Uber app wasn’t working, but could pay $25 cash for a ride to Northgate Mall. Sandhu was charged after the city employee said he agreed.
However, Shandhu denied accepting the cash for a ride. He let the clerk into his car so she could warm up because it was cold outside and show her how to use the app, he said.
It wasn’t the start to 2016 that Duane Gibson was hoping for.
The Niagara-on-the-Lake man knew he made the right decision to call for a ride home on New Year’s Eve, but by morning found himself questioning the company he chose to act as his designated driver.
He awoke to an e-mailed invoice from rideshare service Uber, which drove him and his girlfriend 21 kilometres from Club Roma on Vansickle Road in St. Catharines to Melrose Drive in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
The cost: $118.35.
“I thought ‘Holy, are you kidding me? That’s got to be a mistake,’” Gibson recalled Monday of his reaction to the fare, charged to his girlfriend’s account at 3.7 times the normal rate.
Uber requires passengers to register through its phone app and to pay via credit card or PayPal. Passengers can request a fare estimate and are notified when a surge charge is in place.
Gibson admitted responsibility for the charge, saying he should have paid closer attention to what he was approving, but as a business owner, he felt the extreme increase was unreasonable.
“The more I thought about it, the more I questioned how many other businesses could get away with charging 3.7 times the rate, regardless of whether it’s New Year’s Eve,” he said.
The owner of Gibby’s Electronic Supermarket in St. Catharines, Gibson said his business would not survive by “gouging” customers.
$1,100 Uber bill has Edmonton man calling for change
EDMONTON- He’s received a partial refund but an Edmonton man is still fuming over an Uber ride that ended up costing him more than $1,000 on New Year’s Eve.
Matthew Lindsay said he and four friends left a wedding in Mill Woods on New Year’s Eve and decided to use the ride-sharing service Uber, which is currently illegal in Edmonton.
Lindsay said three stops were made that night: one in south Edmonton, one outside of St. Albert and one in St. Albert.
He said he was notified of the surge pricing and the estimated price per kilometre for the group’s first stop. But he said he was not informed about it when the group continued on to their second and third stops, which are approximately 60 kilometres out of the city.
Uber’s Surge Pricing May Not Lead to a Surge in Drivers
Uber has long stirred controversy and consternation over the higher “surge” prices it charges at peak times. The company has always said the higher prices actually help passengers by encouraging more drivers to get on the road. But computer scientists from Northeastern University have found that higher prices don’t necessarily result in more drivers.
Researchers Le Chen, Alan Mislove and Christo Wilson created 43 new Uber accounts and virtually hailed cars over four weeks from fixed points throughout San Francisco and Manhattan. They found that many drivers actually leave surge areas in anticipation of fewer people ordering rides.
“What happens during a surge is, it just kills demand,” Wilson told ProPublica. “So the drivers actually drive away from the surge.”
Complaints about a hard-to-find fare estimator on New Year’s Eve forced Uber to change its app
Complaining about the price of an Uber ride on New Year’s Eve is becoming a tradition akin to the ball drop itself. Every year, riders rack up $300 fares and cry foul that Uber has snookered their money.
The common response is to blame the riders who could estimate the fare and agreed to the surge in cost.
But this year, some riders found it hard to find the fare estimate option to know the cost in advance, leaving them to blindly accept the ride without knowing how much it might cost them.
It seems the Star has succumbed to the same kind of mind-blowing disregard for the law as has Mayor John Tory. There is a very simple solution to the Uber problem but Uber Canada general manager Ian Black will, I am sure have none of it because he is too busy raking in profits at the expense of cities, consumers and, it seems, drivers – essentially giving the finger to everyone.
The solution is to regulate and enforce. Yes, welcome Uber but only if their drivers are bonded, vetted, properly insured and are driving vehicles that are mechanically sound – and passing through taxes.
Really, what is so hard about that? – it is the City’s responsibility to ensure that when a Torontonian or a visitor to the city gets into an Uber vehicle that the consumer is protected.
At the moment if one was in a serious accident in an Uber vehicle there is no insurance coverage; frankly I wouldn’t put it past an accident victim to sue not only Uber and the driver but also the City. A few of these kinds of cases would, I am sure, wake up Tory to the consequences of his dithering.
Mayor John Tory seeks freeze on taxi license fees after Uber protests
Mayor John Tory wants Toronto taxi licensing fees frozen at 2015 rates after Beck Taxi protested the annual inflationary increase, saying it’s not fair to cabbies facing unfair competition from Uber.
“This will offer some modest relief to those paying the fees early in the new year,” Tory said in an open letter sent to the city’s budget chair, Councillor Gary Crawford.
Kristine Hubbard, Beck’s operations manager, thanked Tory for listening, a day after blasting the city for the impending 2.5 per cent fee hike.
“The intention to freeze increases on licensing fees is a first step in acknowledging taxi drivers in Toronto are facing undue financial burdens and are being asked to compete against an illegal operator,” she said in an emailed statement.
O’Connor V. Uber: Why the day of driver “flexibility” are already numbered
The driver classification lawsuit — O’Connor v. Uber — is not going very well. Not only did Uber lose its appeal to the Ninth Circuit, Judge Edward Chen recently rejected the validity of Uber’s arbitration clause. For the non-lawyers out there, this is a big deal. The arbitration clause was designed to prevent Uber drivers from joining class action lawsuits. Thus, up to 160,000 California Uber drivers will now be able to ignore the arbitration clause in their contracts.
It gets better. The lawyer for the plaintiffs, Shannon Liss-Riordan, recently filed a motion requesting a bench trial. If granted, a bench trial would have a number of important implications. First, a judge would be responsible for determining whether Uber has in fact misclassified its drivers as contractors when they should have been treated as employees. This is what lawyers call the “liability” phase of the trial. Second, a judge would be responsible for determining how much Uber should pay to the improperly classified drivers. In lawyer speak, this is the “damages” phase of the trial.
Insurer asks policy holders: Are you driving for Uber?
Mayor John Tory is promising that sometime next year, the city will introduce regulations that level the playing field for warring Toronto taxi and UberX drivers.
While Tory says the new rules will set out insurance requirements that are “equitable” and “consistent,” at least one Canadian insurance company isn’t waiting.
In a renewal questionnaire, Wawanesa Insurance is asking policy-holders if they are using their personal vehicles to drive for Uber or Lyft. (The latter American company does not currently operate in Toronto.)
If someone checks yes, “we would proceed with cancelling that policy following the appropriate regulations pertaining to cancellations,” Wawanesa manager Anne Barton wrote in email.
“It is not our intention to provide coverage for these risks.”
“Kudos for them because they’ve actually informed their customers correctly on this topic,” Philomena Comerford, president and CEO of Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP, said Wednesday.
Uber says it now has about 20,000 UberX drivers in Toronto, double the number of licensed taxi drivers.
“Without exception, I would hazard a guess that probably every single UberX vehicle out there is relying on personal auto insurance,” Comerford said.
It’s time to regulate Uber if the “gig”economy is here to stay
Since Uber barged into the Canadian market three years ago, the talk has been all about forcing the United States-based ride-hailing service to play by taxi industry rules.
There have been court challenges, bans in several cities and angry clashes with taxi drivers.
But it’s futile to turn back the clock. The taxi industry, like many others, will never be the same. The online “gig” economy is rapidly upending the world of work, forcing policy-makers to rethink labour and tax laws.
Beyond the reach of regulators, consumers are connecting directly through smartphone apps with private contractors offering a wide range of services – from shopping and cooking to house cleaning, home repairs and snowplowing. This is creating a vast new army of independent workers who have none of the benefits, protections and security that the rest of us take for granted.
Some cities want it, but Uber not licensed in B.C, province says
The B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says Uber has not applied to operate in B.C., as several Metro Vancouver municipalities call for the province to allow the ride-sharing company to operate.
Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Langley Township councils voted last week to ask the provincial government to reconsider the rules that stop cities from allowing ride-sharing.
Sonia Lowe, a public affairs officer for the ministry, said the government has not yet received any letters from the Tri-Cities municipalities, but welcomes their feedback on this issue.
“We understand there is a strong desire for choices in transportation options throughout the province and we continue to work with our stakeholders with a view to moving forward,” she said, in an emailed statement.
She said the Passenger Transportation Act requires any vehicle operated by the person who charges or collects compensation for transporting passengers to have a licence. She said at this point, the Passenger Transportation Branch has not received any applications from Uber to operate in B.C. She did not say whether the government would consider amending this law.
Its called Double Dutch and says a lot about the nature of the digital business today. Uber is a technology company; its business model is built around its smart phone app, which directly connects customers, those in need of a ride, with people willing to give them a ride. Uber customers can summon driver on their smartphone and the ride is billed to their credit card.
So far so conventional; apart from the smart phone app, this is how conventional taxi business operate…
The story gets interesting from a tax point of view if we follow the money.
Statement from Toronto Taxi Alliance on December 9th protest
TORONTO, Dec. 8, 2015 /CNW/ – The Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA) is not an organizer of the planned December 9th demonstration by taxi industry members.
While the TTA supports the aim of the demonstration, which is to encourage the City of Toronto to enforce the law with Uber’s illegal operations, it does not support any tactic which will disrupt traffic or transportation for Toronto drivers and residents.
Uber is an unlicensed taxi broker, and through UberX runs an operation of bandit cabs which are unlicensed, uninsured and evading taxes. The TTA has asked the City to file an injunction to force Uber to cease its illegal operations as Calgary has done.
However Mayor John Tory has declared such an injunction is “not on the table” because “Calgary and Toronto are different places.” This is true: Calgary enforces its laws while Toronto doesn’t.
Taxi drivers call for moratorium on licensing fees until Uber issue is resolved
Toronto’s taxi drivers are calling for a moratorium on licensing fees until the city sets up a regulatory framework for taxis and Uber.
“If the city won’t use the fees drivers pay for enforcement and regulatory equality as currently prescribed, then we’re asking them to begin leveling the playing field by easing expenses along with certain regulations for Toronto’s law-abiding drivers,” said Kristine Hubbard, operations manager at Beck Taxi, in a release.
Currently, Toronto’s taxi drivers pay the city licensing fees to cover the costs of regulation and bylaw enforcement. Uber drivers are independent drivers who do not pay any licensing fee.
“Licensed taxi drivers are expected to sit idly by as the city continues to allow black-market taxis to operate in our city and break our laws,” Hubbard said. “Meanwhile, licensed drivers are expected to pay up and abide by Toronto’s by-laws, or face being fined and losing their permits even though taxi drivers and UberX drivers are providing the same service.”
Calgary court puts brakes on Uber, company officials suspend service as of Saturday morning Uber official calls injunction “sad day for hardworking Calgarians,” says talks with city continue
Uber said it will comply with a judge’s decision Friday to prohibit ride-share drivers from operating in Calgary.
Justice Glen Poelman ruled Uber drivers were violating the city’s Livery Transport Bylaw.
City lawyer Colleen Sinclair sought the temporary injunction ahead of a full hearing Dec. 17, in which an injunction will be sought preventing further Uber operations under the current bylaw.
The city is currently considering alternatives to the bylaw which would allow Uber to provide its ride-share services in Calgary.
Lawyer Christian Popowich argued the city hadn’t proved drivers broke the law and suggested since council is looking at changing it the injunction shouldn’t be granted.
He said the bylaw couldn’t apply to a modern system in which passengers and drivers connect through Uber’s app.
“I cannot exclude the bylaw just because it applies to a new mode (of service),” Poelman said. “I’m satisfied … the city has established Uber drivers, including the named respondents, have breached the Livery Transport Bylaw”.
Taxi owners should be compensated if Uber is legalised, says Luke Foley
NSW Opposition leader Luke Foley says owners of taxi licence plates should receive some form of compensation if the Baird government legalises ride-sharing services such as Uber.
“You can’t wish ride-sharing out of existence so this is overdue that the government … puts in place some sensible regulation that ought to involve compensation for taxi-plate owners for the loss of value of their plates,” Mr Foley said on Monday.
“Of course [compensation] can’t be unlimited … but perhaps a licence fee on Uber in order to regulate them properly can be used in part for some limited compensation for taxi-plate owners.”
Beck Taxi calls on city to stop collecting cab licensing fees
Beck Taxi is calling on the City of Toronto to stop collecting licensing fees while city officials draw up new regulations that will even the playing field between traditional cab companies and ride-sharing services such as Uber.
The request comes after Uber Canada refused to suspend service in Toronto while officials come up with a new licensing system that would cover both taxi drivers and Uber operators.
“Licensed taxi drivers are expected to sit idly by as the city continues to allow black-market taxis to operate in our city and break our laws,” Kristine Hubbard, Operations Manager at Beck Taxi said in a statement issued Thursday. “Meanwhile, licensed drivers are expected to pay up and abide by Toronto’s bylaws, or face being fined and losing their permits even though taxi drivers and UberX drivers are providing the same service.”
The debate surrounding Edmonton City Hall on the proposed vehicle-for-bylaw is quickly getting convoluted, partially due to some skilfully propagated myths.
The first and perhaps most erroneous myth is that companies such as Uber are not taxis, but rather “ride-sharing companies.” This debate is becoming so complicated and polarizing largely because Uber has spent a fortune on spin doctors and savvy public relations companies that have successfully managed to convince people it’s a technology company that offers ride-sharing, not a taxi company that knows how to use technology. Uber drivers are paid to drive people from Point A to Point B, just like taxi drivers.
This myth is fundamental because it is used by Uber as a basis to argue that it should have a different set of rules from the existing taxi industry. Unfortunately, it seems the strategy is working so far. The proposed vehicle-for-hire bylaw currently being considered by city council would create two very different sets of rules: one for taxis, and one for everyone else.
Uber, Lyft, and taxi documentary, “Driving for Hire”
10 of the biggest camplaints about Uber – from Uber drivers
It’s not just black cab drivers who are worried about Uber: London’s Uber drivers have also shared some serious concerns about the app.
In the standard media portrayal, it’s cabbies v Uber drivers: a clear divide, with each group in complete disagreement with the other.But conversations on the Uber forum UberPeople.net show this simply isn’t true.
UberSlash: Thanks black cabbie for your piece of advice and just to let you know we’re not all bad like your not all on one side.
BlackCabbie: Appreciate that. We have some serious knuckle draggers too. They’re the ones who give you hassle.
Uber drivers who pick up fares in the Niagara region who are not licensed by police could be charged for operating an illegal taxi service.
“If a company wants to transport people they need to be licensed,” said Vaughn Stewart, a member of the Niagara Regional Police licensing committee Thursday morning, the same day Uber announced it was launching in Niagara.
The peer-to-peer ride-sharing program using a mobile phone app — also launched in Kingston and Windsor, joining more than 350 communities worldwide, and more than 40 in Ontario.
“According to our bylaw, they would be in contravention,” said Stewart, who raised concerns regarding the controversial transportation company.
Stewart said a ride share is no different than a taxi.
Uber is not the Future of WorkThe rise of Uber has convinced many pundits, economists, and policymakers that freelancing via digital platforms is becoming increasingly important to Americans’ livelihood. It has also promoted the idea that new technology—particularly the explosion of platforms enabling the gig economy—will fundamentally alter the future of work.While Uber and other new companies in the gig economy receive a lot of attention, a look at Uber’s own data about its drivers’ schedules and pay reveals them to be much less consequential than most people assume. In fact, dwelling on these companies too much distracts from the central features of work in America that should be prominent in the public discussion: a disappointingly low minimum wage, lax overtime rules, weak collective-bargaining rights, and excessive unemployment, to name a few. When it comes to the future of work, these are the aspects of the labor market that deserve the most attention.
Curiously, the best evidence of Uber’s relatively small impact on the American labor market comes from data released and publicized by the company itself. David Plouffe, an Uber strategist, began a recent speech by saying, “I want to talk today about the future of work—specifically, the fact that a growing number of people are engaging in flexible and freelance work because of the sharing economy or through on-demand platforms.”
Competition Commissioner: Taxis, ride-share apps and consumers deserve a level playing field
November 26, 2016 – When was the last time you watched a movie on VHS? In the early 2000s, nobody was talking about banning DVDs to protect those who manufactured VCRs and video tapes. Instead, we embraced innovation and benefited from the superior quality of DVDs.
Why, then, are some regulators taking steps to ban ride-sharing applications?
Apps, such as those offered by Uber and Lyft, can provide Canadians with more choice, lower prices and better service. Recent reports found that Uber prices in Ottawa were about 36 per cent less than taxi fares, and that passengers in Toronto waited an average of nine minutes for a traditional taxi, but two to four minutes for an Uber driver.
Despite these benefits, both ride sharing and taxi drivers – and their customers – are suffering due to taxi regulations that restrict the competitiveness of ride-sharing apps in the marketplace.
While the taxi industry is heavily regulated in Canada, ride-sharing services are not. This creates an uneven playing field in the industry.
Are we turning into a society that values convenience over safety? Have you ever made a questionable decision in the name of shaving a few minutes off your arrival time? Perhaps we need to collectively reevaluate the services we use to ensure they are up to a minimum standard, or risk negative yet predictable repercussions of skipping the due diligence part.
For starters, what do you know about the car you are getting into?
In the last five years, there has been an exponential surge in Ride Hail Apps like Lyft, Whisk, and America’s sweetheart: Uber. Clearly we love them, but statistically we tend to know nothing about them. For instance, when it comes to legislation at all levels, ride hail apps are regarded as technology companies and not a taxi or livery service, thus the companies and drivers are not subjected to the same stringent legislation as taxi and companies and car services. This lack of governance has resulted in a two-pronged effect:
1. Rider safety is at risk
A recent report from the National Limousine Association (NLA) provided a snapshot of the terms and conditions from the top ride hailing apps, and they are terrifying to say the least. Here are a few highlights:
Uber: Uber does not guarantee the suitability, safety or ability of third party providers. By using the services, you acknowledge that you may be exposed to situations involving third party providers that are potentially unsafe, offensive, harmful to minors or otherwise objectionable, and that use of third party providers arranged or scheduled using the services is at your own risk and judgement
Lyft: Users understand and accept that LYFT has no control over the identity or actions of the riders and drivers, and LYFT requests that users exercise caution and good judgement when using the services. Drivers and riders use the services at their own risk.
VIA: You assume all risk associated with dealing with third party providers. You agree to resolve disputes directly with the other party. You release VIA of all claims, demands, and damages in disputes among users of the Service.
Whisk: Whisk assumes no liability for any acts on the part of the driver.
These Ride Hail apps have clearly positioned themselves as mere brokers in a transaction they assume zero responsibility for. Many app users are not aware of the risk they are taking when they step inside these cars and regard these apps the same way they would a traditional cab or car service. This is a disaster in the making and these app companies will walk away with all of the profits and impunity. To speak plainly, these apps are not taking steps to ensure your safety.
Canadian Taxi Association warns would-be drivers in Niagara, Ont. of Uber insurance risks
The Canadian Taxi Association (CTA) is warning anyone who is living in the Niagara, Ont. region and thinking of driving for Uber to think twice.
“Canadian insurance companies are cracking down on customers who drive for Uber without proper commercial coverage,” said CTA president Marc Andre Way in a press release on Friday. “Errant drivers are having their policies voided and could be left completely uninsured.”
The CTA noted that last week, Aviva Canada “cracked down on four Ottawa-based customers who are Uber drivers after having received information from the CTA.” Off-duty taxi drivers have been taking Uber rides to collect licence plate numbers and driver information and providing it to insurance companies, the CTA reported.
Taxi association sending Ottawa Uber driver info to insurance companies
The Canadian Taxi Association is battling illegal Uber drivers operating in Ottawa by conducting undercover stings to gather driver information to send to insurance companies — an effort that has led to at least two Ottawa Uber drivers having their insurance cancelled.
So far in Ottawa, the association has collected the licence plates and driver profiles of more than 200 drivers who work for the ride-sharing service, said association president Marc Andre Way, who is also vice-president of Coventry Connections.
“We do that constantly. It’s an ongoing effort where we collect a database of licence plates of those who are driving illegally within our cities,” Way said, adding they’ve been lobbying insurance companies since Uber surfaced in Canada.
TORONTO – The tickets handed to UberX drivers may be fake, but the message Beck Taxi is trying to deliver isn’t.
Kristine Hubbard, operations manager of Beck Taxi Ltd., used the Uber app to signal UberX cars to Lombard St. Wednesday, and when the drivers arrived, she issued each an oversized yellow mock ticket with a $500 fine for “operating a taxi without a city licence.”
“Were they told they don’t need commercial insurance by Uber or is it they know they’re breaking the law and willing to take the risk?” Hubbard said.
“We also … show how easy it is for these bylaws to be enforced.”
None of the drivers had commercial insurance, but they said Uber told them it had won its fight with the city and there wouldn’t be any new guidelines until January and it’s fine to operate as usual until then.
It’s a busy week for politicians – who are paid with taxpayers’ dollars – to be discussing the mythical “sharing economy.” Tim Hudak plans to introduce a private member’s bill at Queen’s Park on Oct. 29 and Toronto councillors and staff are heading to the Aga Khan centre the same day for an in-depth discussion.
While the people who are paid in taxpayers’ dollars are pontificating, perhaps tax-paying businesses could get a word in edgewise: operations like Uber and AirBnB are not “sharing.” They are avoiding the taxes paid by legal, legitimate transportation and hotel industries and enjoying an enormous competitive advantage by doing so. This is not a “sharing economy”; it’s the Underground Economy. It’s not new, it’s not right, and it’s not good for Toronto or for Canada.
Calgary taxi company unleashes its own ‘bandit cab’ Uber parody
Uber is so last week – or that’s what a Calgary Taxi company is hoping.
Meet CBR (cy-hoo-br) the latest Transportation Network Company in Calgary complete with zero licensing, no insurance and no mechanical inspections. The letters CBR don’t stand for anything.
The all black sleek vehicle can be used as both a “Taxy” and sedan with its tinted back windows. One of the passenger doors won’t open, but that’s why you have two, right? For safety there’s two spare tires and your driver goes the same speed as flowing traffic – because he doesn’t have a speedometer.
“When you have an unregulated service, it could be anything, who knows what you’re going to get,” said Roger Richard, owner of Associated Cabs. “If we all did that, what would happen, there would be chaos, so why is (Uber) allowed to operate today?”
Uber London Ltd under fire for paying no corporation tax on profits made in 2014
Uber is doing everything they can to avoid paying taxes in the countries they operate in. Have a look at this article.
Uber in London paid no UK corporation tax on the £866,302 profits it made in the UK in 2014, according to the company’s accounts.
The accounts show that the company did, however, book £22,134 tax charge for the year – which a spokesman said was deferred taxation relating to previous years.
An accountant who looked at the results for The Independent said that the company’s corporation tax was in effect cancelled out by deductions they got for the cost of exercising share schemes with employees. Employees that made use of the share schemes will have paid income tax and National Insurance of up to 47 per cent, accountants say, and Uber will have received a deduction on corporation tax from the scheme resulting in the zero figure.
Uber and other rideshare companies connect ride-seekers to drivers through a mobile app. After a match has been made, drivers pick up their passengers and transport them to their desired destinations. Before signing up to become a rideshare driver or using the service as a passenger, it is important to understand how rideshairing works and the risks associated with the industry.
Becoming a rideshare driver, especially through Uber, has become a popular option for those seeking full- or part-time employment. This is because the company allows its drivers to choose their own hours, and, for the company’s UberX drivers, no special licensing is required. However, because UberX drivers must use their personal insurance, drivers are unknowingly opening themselves up to the following risks:
Uber urges Guelph Police Board to permit it to operate in the city
GUELPH — Uber and local taxi companies are lobbying the city police board regarding whether to support the use of the ridesharing service in the city.
Last month, Jesse Mendoza, secretary/treasurer with Canadian Cab Ltd., wrote a letter to the Guelph Police Services Board and appeared before the group urging it to crack down on Uber.
He said all traditional taxi owners are required to provide details of their commercial insurance coverage to police. It would be very difficult for officers to verify the insurance coverage of said non-traditional taxis, he explained, referring to Uber.
He said the city already has a taxi bylaw that works well.
“Good rules have no expiry dates, nor do they cease to become good rules, simply because some decide not to obey them.”
`Very little`Calgary can do to stop companies like Uber from entering market, says Nenshi
The mayor of Calgary said essentially that the city and police cannot uphold the law. It is powerless against criminal organizations. We at the CTA believe that they could uphold the law if they wanted too and in the interest of public safety they should. The city of Calgary could be sued for letting an unregulated and uninsured company operate putting public safety at risk. It is a very sad statement to have a city declare itself unable to uphold the law.
The Agenda with Steve Paikin examines how the province of Ontario has been grappling with what to do about the private vehicle service Uber X.
Ontario’s capital city saw hundreds of taxi drivers flood City Hall this week to voice their belief that not only is Uber breaking the law, but it’s also putting passengers and other drivers at risk. Will Uber ever replace taxis?
TORONTO – Remember this quote from July? “There has to be one set of rules that apply to all companies.” That was Mayor John Tory, who then instructed city staff to review the bylaws governing ground transportation and develop one set of rules for taxis and ridesharing that Council could then adopt.
Today, Toronto city staff has done the opposite, handcuffing the taxi industry and giving Uber preferential treatment. The major problems are:
Creating a new set of rules for companies that market themselves as technology companies. Taxi companies now all have apps that do exactly what Uber does. Why should there be a special set of rules for Uber?
Taxi companies will continue to have their fees set and monitored by the City. Uber will have no such restriction and can undercut the industry at times and still charge surge pricing when they see people are desperate for rides.
Uber will continue for the next several months with absolutely no regulation while the City allows it to gain further market share and is taking a “we trust you” approach to Uber saying it will someday develop an insurance product to cover its drivers and passengers in the case of an accident.
“What happened to the level playing field?” said Peter Zahakos, CEO of Co-op Cabs. “The real story is there is no level playing field. What we have is one set of rules for local companies that have invested in the Toronto economy and a different set of rules for $40 billion California company whose profits leave Canada.”
Auto insurance provider working with Uber on ridesharing options If Uber insurance properly covered drivers they would not do this. Why would they undertake such a massive task if they did have proper insurance?
TORONTO – One of Canada’s largest auto insurance providers is teaming with Uber to create products tailored for the ride-hailing service, after concerns emerged that some insurance policies may not cover drivers using their personal vehicles for commercial gain.
Intact Financial Corp. (TSX:IFC) said it is also working with insurance regulators and various levels of government in provinces where Uber is available to ensure the products that it develops are in line with regulatory requirements.
The insurer said it was too early to provide details about the products, which it plans to market under the Intact and Belairdirect brands.
HAMILTON – Eight Uber drivers in Hamilton are facing a total of 23 bylaw charges, the City of Hamilton announced Thursday morning.
The charges are violations of the city’s taxi bylaw and include the offences of operating a taxi without a licence, driving a vehicle not approved for use as a taxi and failing to provide a copy of third-party liability insurance to the city.
TORONTO – The president of an association representing Toronto taxi drivers says ride-hailing service Uber should be regulated by the same bylaws as cab companies, despite of a new city report that says otherwise.
Sajid Mughal, president of the iTaxiworkers Association, made his comments Wednesday after city staff released the report, which reviewed Toronto’s ground transportation industry, including taxis, limos and Uber.
Ride-hailing app Uber has cut into the taxi business since its debut in Toronto in 2014. Its success led Toronto to launch its wide-ranging review in July.
Recommendations in the report included lowering the base taxi fare by $1 and initiating a review of current taxicab regulations in an effort to make them more lenient.
Mughal says the price cut is a good idea, but he’s quick to add that “just lowering the price is not going to save the industry.”
He says regulating Uber under the same bylaws as taxi companies will create a level playing field, whereas changes the city suggested would continue to give Uber an “unfair advantage”.
Unlike cab fares, Uber’s prices are not regulated by bylaws. Toronto cabs currently have a base fare of $4.25, with an additional charge of $0.25 for each additional 0.143 km (which is about $1.75 per km) and an additional $0.25 for every 29 seconds of waiting time.
TORONTO – Now that Rob Ford is no longer the mayor, there’s only one thing that’s guaranteed to fill city council’s galleries with angry people: The Uber War.
On Wednesday, City Hall watchers learned the next battle will start Sept. 16 at the city’s licensing committee. The first shot: City staff just tabled a report that’s supposed to bring some sort of order to the competition between ride-hail services like Uber and conventional taxis.
What happens if the report is adopted? Here’s the problem: Not much.
A judge recently said a technicality in city bylaws makes Uber legal. Council wants to close that loophole immediately, before the city does anything else to change taxi laws. That means Toronto will be sending bylaw enforcement officers and cops after Uber X drivers all over again if the report passes as written. They could even be doing it as early as the end of September.
TORONTO – Reiterating that Uber’s popularity proves the ride-hailing service is here to stay, Mayor John Tory supports a new licensing staff report that aims to bring the unlicensed company into the city’s regulatory fold.
“Today, we’ve taken the first step forward to first bring Uber inside the law and regulate it,” Tory said Wednesday at city hall.
Staff proposals will also make it easier for traditional taxis to compete with Uber, and its UberX service, by reducing the fare people pay when entering a regular licensed cab from $4.25 to $3.25, Tory said.
Proposed bylaw would allow Uber to operate legally in Edmonton
EDMONTON — The City of Edmonton is proposing a Vehicle for Hire Bylaw that would allow technology-based companies like ride-sharing app Uber to operate legally in Edmonton.
The new bylaw would essentially make Uber drivers much like existing taxi drivers. It would require Uber drivers to undergo a criminal record check, have their vehicle inspected yearly and acquire a licence from the city.
They would also need a commercial insurance policy with appropriate liability coverage similar to that used by a taxi operator; personal insurance would not be adequate.
CTA President Marc Andre Way talks about Uber issues in new article from Law Times – Uber facing a gamut of legal challenges
In the wake of the City of Toronto’s unsuccessful attempt this spring to get a court injunction against ride-booking service Uber, many people will be waiting to see a report on a public consultation process that could lead to a new bylaw regulating it.
The drafting of such a bylaw, however, seems unlikely to end the legal wrangling around Uber, at least given the opposition the service has stirred up among taxi drivers. According to Marc Andre Way, president of the Canadian Taxi Association, the company or its drivers are flouting a range of laws. “At a minimum, there are four levels where something is not properly done,” he says.
Kristine Hubbard of Beck Taxi discusses the situation of bylaw enforcing rules and regulations in Toronto as Uber X drivers are facing over 200 charges
Dozens of Uber drivers in Toronto face a truckload of charges, a city official has confirmed.
As of Friday, 99 Uber drivers have been charged with 198 bylaw offences, Jackie DeSouza said Wednesday night.
In July, councillors voted for a crackdown on the ride-sharing service, while at the same time agreeing to a review of the city’s current rules governing ground transportation to try and create a single bylaw to cover both conventional taxis and Uber vehicles.
“I recognize the urgency and I recognize the fact that it is not satisfactory to have laws that exist on the books that either cannot be or are not enforced,” Mayor John Tory said last month.
Know the risks before participating in ride sharing services
Alberta’s Superintendent of Insurance has issued an advisory notice on ride sharing services and the insurance risk they currently pose to Albertans.
The Superintendent’s office recently reviewed Uber’s insurance policies and found significant issues with regulatory compliance. Albertans are at risk of not having access to insurance protection and accident benefits under Alberta law if using Uber’s ride sharing services, and potentially other ride sharing services as well.
Drivers using Uber ride sharing services may believe that Uber’s supplemental insurance provides the necessary coverage. This is currently not the case in Alberta.
Taxi Diamond updates app with Uber-like functionalities
Montreal’s taxi industry has been criticized recently for being behind the times, and Taxi Diamond says it’s responding with an upgrade to its mobile application.
The city’s largest taxi company released an updated version of its smartphone app Monday for iOS and Android. Users can pay through the app and rate their ride and the vehicle they’re riding in — not unlike the popular taxi app Uber.
“We decided to do this year some modifications to our application obviously to answer demands from customers,” said Raffi Artinian, Taxi Diamond’s assistant general manager.
Summer of Uber: Everything you need to know about the upstart ride-sharing service
While Uber claims to be a ride-sharing service that improves efficiency and is cost-effective, its opponents say it is really operating “bandit taxis.” Uber’s drivers, especially those in the UberX service category — in which drivers use their own cars — generally do not have taxi licences and are not subjected to the municipal oversight that come with them, raising concerns about vehicle safety, driver screening and insurance coverage.
Calgary cab driver returns lost bag with more than $10,000 cash inside
A Calgary taxi driver carrying more than just a fare is counting his lucky stars after he was able to successfully return nearly $11,000 to its rightful owners Thursday morning.
After picking up a mother and son duo from the Calgary Airport around 5 p.m. Wednesday, Mohammad Khawaja, a driver for Associated Cabs,unloaded the trunk of his car at their hotel destination, but a bag left behind in the passenger seat went unnoticed.
The night-shift driver, thinking it was Khawaja’s forgotten gym bag, left it with Khawaja’s family before taking over the taxi for the night.
“Luckily that was my last trip,” Khawaja said, adding if he had picked up an unscrupulous passenger, the bag might have disappeared.
Opening the bag to find some sort of ID, he confirmed it belonged to his last passenger, but was surprised to find more than $7,000 in an envelope with a passport. There was also a wallet in the bag containing more that $3,000.
The law firm is representing Ontario-based licensed taxicab owners, taxicab drivers, taxicab brokers, limousine owners, limousine drivers and limousine service companies that are targeting Uber in a class-action lawsuit for creating an “enormous marketplace for illegal transportation in Toronto.”
The plaintiffs are seeking $400 million (CAD) in compensatory damages, $10 million in punitive damages, and an injunction prohibiting UberX from continuing to operate in Ontario.
The lawsuit says that UberX drivers are in violation of section 39.1 of the Highway Traffic Act and are not licenced to accept compensation for driving passengers to a specific destination. That section of The Highway Traffic Act says “no person shall arrange or offer to arrange for a passenger to be picked up in a motor vehicle other than a bus for purposes of being transported for compensation.”
“The Plaintiff alleges that Uber X and Uber XL has created an enormous marketplace for illegal transportation in Toronto,” the suit goes on to say. “The courts have previously ruled that Uber Black, Uber SUV and Uber Taxi services do not contravene any municipal bylaws, however, we are alleging that UberX and UberXL do not fall into the same category, and are in fact, blatantly in contravention of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, and detrimental to the ongoing business interests of every taxi and limousine operator in the province.”
Ottawa cab executive named president of Canadian Taxi Association
By Lucy Scholey
Marc Andre Way paid his way through university in a cab.
He started picking up passengers at age 17 and has since handled almost every part of the operation – serving fuel, dispatching, and, more recently, managing taxi fleets with Coventry Connections in Ottawa.
On Thursday, the 47-year-old put on a new hat as president of the Canadian Taxi Association (CTA), which represents independent cab operators across the country.
But with Uber in Canada and other U.S.-based ride-hailing apps like Lyft eyeing cities north of the border, the cab industry looks different than when Way first sat behind the wheel almost 30 years ago.
The CTA first formed in the 1990s, but it was “more of an exchanging-of-ideas type of group” said Way. It’s partly still that. But Way also plans to work with Canadian cities “to ensure that the regulations and the key rules that we live by don’t get eroded to the point where it gets to be the wild, wild west out there.”
“The bar is set at a certain level and we all operate within that level,” said Way.
“Wild west” is a term that both the mayors of Ottawa and Toronto have used to describe the cab industry since Uber set foot in the market. Both cities have cracked down on Uber drivers – Toronto unsuccessfully sought an injunction against the company – and both are planning reviews of their taxi regulations.
Taxi Diamond updates app with Uber-like functionalities
By Michelle Pucci
Montreal’s taxi industry has been criticized recently for being behind the times, and Taxi Diamond says it’s responding with an upgrade to its mobile application.
The city’s largest taxi company released an updated version of its smartphone app Monday for iOS and Android. Users can pay through the app and rate their ride and the vehicle they’re riding in — not unlike the popular taxi app Uber.
“We decided to do this year some modifications to our application obviously to answer demands from customers,” said Raffi Artinian, Taxi Diamond’s assistant general manager.
This comes after Quebec Transport Minister Robert Poëti called on the industry to modernize at a taxi summit last week in Montreal.
The arrival of the Uber taxi service in Montreal has put pressure on the city’s taxi companies to update their service.
Uber targeted by Canada’s largest city amid cabbie protest
By Alastair Sharp
TORONTO (Reuters) – Taxi drivers packed a courtroom in Canada’s largest city on Monday as Toronto stated its case for the Uber ride-sharing service to be regulated like the traditional cab companies with which it competes.
The Uberpeople forum exists in a state of quivering rage I usually associate with cable-news talk shows. Drivers are furious about everything. Spoiled passengers. Fare cuts. Living in fear of arbitrary ratings. The dumb Spotify thing streaming over the driver’s data plan rather than the passenger’s. A bunch of drivers are even using the forum as a home base to try to unionize in several cities.
But I also find some useful numbers to fill in the vagaries of the training video. For example, I should accept 90% of pings to avoid trouble. I’m also surprised to learn that Uber’s cutoff for driver ratings “below rider expectations” is generally agreed to be only 4.6 stars — I’d had no idea when using Uber as a passenger that rating someone four stars was kind of a big deal.
By some accounts, it was the ancient Romans who invented the first taxi meter—a series of linked metal discs that counted off the revolutions of a cart wheel and marked the distance travelled by dropping pebbles into a box. And if that was the case, you can be sure that the first rules governing cabs and their drivers weren’t far behind.
Authorities in Paris and London were certainly regulating horse-drawn hackneys as far back as the early 1600s. In North America, however, it wasn’t until the Great Depression of the 1930s—when desperate would-be chauffeurs began duking it out on urban streets—that most cities started licensing and limiting the motorized versions.
Macleans has a host of articles dedicated to the subject of Taxis…check out the link here…