The New Wave: Reconciling Uber with Edmonton's Bylaws


Nobody can say that the job of a City Councillor is boring. This afternoon’s meeting on vehicle for hire and ride-sharing regulations was a little tumultuous at times. In fact council was holed up in our bunker for around an hour as meeting attendees reacted angrily in our chambers.

Eventually Council was able to return and put together a motion to amend the proposed bylaw that will hopefully create greater equity in the taxi industry while making way for the innovation of new market entrants. It is time for our city and our council to embrace the future or ride-sharing technology while recognizing the valued past and future of taxi drivers, owners and brokers.

Before I move forward to talk about Uber and ride-sharing, let’s go back and take a look at the history that has brought us to the situation we are in today.

Edmonton’s Taxi History

In 1995, the City decided, along with many other municipalities, that there needed to be a cap put on the number of taxis that could operate. This was done to help regulate the industry - having drivers assigned to a license makes it easier to monitor and enforce in cases of bad service or behaviour, and leads to more predictable service levels (in theory). So that year, the City handed out taxi plates at $400 a pop, and capped the number of licenses at 1185. More regular plates were released in 2007 and 2009, so that as of winter 2015, there were 1319 licenses issued in the City

But the situation today is much different from 1995, because not every cab driver owns a plate. Instead, most taxi drivers rent from the plate holders. To buy a taxi plate today could cost you upwards of $150,000, so many of the plate owners have made a big investment to get in the game. But a plate holder can make up to $40,000 a year renting out a single plate, on top of whatever the owner might make by working.

The Secondary Industry

In the current system, the non-plate owning taxi drivers are getting squeezed pretty hard. They pay licensing fees, and on top of that have to pay to rent the plate from the plate owner. According to some drivers that I’ve spoken with, it’s very possible to pay up to $450 per week to rent a plate for a series of shifts. Many drivers have to work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week just to make ends meet.

While the proposed bylaw amendments are by no means perfect, they would certainly present a better alternative to the drivers who are in this position. Instead of $400-450 week rent on top of fees and insurance, they could be paying $600 per year, with insurance and car payments for a vehicle that they would also be able to use privately.

Of course, it’s understandable, to a degree, that the plate holder charges so much. If a driver they are renting to gets in an accident, the plate owner is the one that ends up losing money while the car is out of commission. Many have also paid a premium to get in the plate holding game, and have to pay down that investment.

The Arrival of Uber

So that’s been the model of our vehicle for hire industry, up until December 2014 when a new player rolled into town. Uber started operations here in December.

Say what you will about Uber’s business tactics, their business model is popular and pretty effective. I’ve heard from hundreds of pro-Uber Edmontonians in the past few months; it’s clear that there is a huge amount demand for this service, and that it is unlikely to go away.

Other cities have had some success in blocking ride-sharing, but to many, myself included, it seems to be a foregone conclusion that these companies are here to stay, and will eventually win their way into the market. Ride-sharing represents a new wave of options coming in for customers, and fighting that tide is an inefficient use of our time and resources. So if Edmonton is going to be a smart, forwarding thinking city, we may as well get on board now, rather than wasting time fighting something that citizens want.  

The Draft Bylaw

The draft bylaw that was presented to Executive Committee last week was, in many ways, the worst of both worlds. It overregulated ride-sharing providers with fees and non-electronic licensing requirements, which is fairly incompatible with the driver recruitment process for companies like Uber. What’s more, it did nothing to address the issues in the taxi industry that have been glaringly obvious for some time.

At today’s Council meeting, we sent the draft bylaw back to Administration to fix those problems. Where the taxi industry is concerned, there needs to be a thorough consultation with all members of the industry, including non-plate owning drivers, to assess the wisdom of retaining the current fixed and variable rates policy, and examining other potential improvements to the industry.

The ride-sharing part of the bylaw is going to take a lot more work. Some of the possibilities that will be explored include:

  • the creation of a distinct license class for Transportation Network Companies (ride-sharing operators) with appropriate fees.

  • A lowering of driver’s license fees for ride-sharing drivers to $50/year

  • Adoption of a policy of non-discrimination on pickups for Transportation Network Companies, so that a ride-sharing driver couldn’t discriminate against a potential customer based on race, gender, etc.

  • how to maintain the number of accessible taxis.

  • options for self-regulation by Transportation Network Companies.

The Mother of Invention

I firmly believe that there is space in the Edmonton market for both ride-sharing companies and the taxi industry to exist successfully, but some adaption will be necessary on the part of companies. I have met with enough taxi drivers to know that some evolution in our vehicle for hire bylaw is necessary, even without ride sharing, for these individuals how are arguably the most vulnerable in the industry. I’m looking forward to seeing the reports from Administration executed expeditiously, and with thorough consultation with all the relevant stakeholders. The time is now; we can't keep trying to hold this wave back anymore.


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  • commented 2015-11-12 11:27:57 -0700
    Uber GST/HST Fraud?

    Self-employed cab drivers are required by the Canada Revenue Agency to register, collect and remit HST/GST from their fares to the government. This requirement does not correspond to a certain amount of money being made by cab drivers. Rather, if you drive a cab as a self-employed individual, you must be registered.

    For others, the Canada Revenue Agency requires you to register for HST/GST when your sales total over $30,000.

    Now we all know that Uber considers itself a technology company and not a cab company. Meaning it does not seem to have an opinion as to whether its drivers are required to register for HST/GST or not. This should be of great concern to the Federal government, anyone driving for Uber, and those who care about tax compliance.

    Uber does not allow an individual driver to charge HST/GST above the fare charged by Uber. In addition, an Uber driver cannot collect cash from a passenger to pay any HST/GST amounts owing.

    So what this means is that Uber drivers, if required to register for HST/GST, are actually being paid much less than they think.

    For example, if an Uber driver makes $100 nightly driving for Uber, in reality, (in Alberta), the Uber driver has actually made $95 and $5 of GST & (in Ontario), the Uber driver has actually made $87 and $13 of HST/GST which must be remitted to the federal government.

    If Uber drivers are not aware of this requirement they will not register for HST/GST, nor will they remit the money to the federal government. Once this occurs, the Uber driver may be audited in future, and penalized large amounts for failure to register and remit the proper amounts to the federal government.
  • commented 2015-11-07 21:19:05 -0700
    Respected Councillor Michael Walters

    Brampton student close to covering $663 Uber bill through crowdfunding‘Loco Daniel’ says he didn’t understand surge pricing he agreed to. His crowdfunding campaign isn’t going well.

    Karl Mondon / TNS

    People stream past Uber offices on Market Street in San Francisco.

    Published on Nov 05 2015

    Mallory ChateMETRO NEWS

    An Ontario student who turned to crowdfunding to ask for help paying his more than $600 bill from an Uber ride on Halloween is actually really close to reaching his fundraising goal.

    Despite receiving more snide comments than sympathy, campaign creator, “Loco Daniel,” had raised $621 by Thursday evening thanks to four donations, including a person who gave him $5 to go “buy a brain.”

    The standout donation, however, was from his latest contributor Lisa Stilborn, who gave him $600 and did not leave a comment.

    Daniel wrote on his GoFundMe page it was his first time using the app for a long ride, and he thought it would be a safe way for him to get back home to Brampton after partying until 2:30 a.m. in downtown Toronto.

    What he didn’t understand was that Halloween was bound to be a crazy night. Uber’s “surge pricing” kicked in, a rate that it charges when the demand for rides becomes higher than usual.

    The normal fare for the 58-minute ride from downtown to his Brampton location was $184.27. With surge pricing, the bill came to a whopping $663.37. He had also ordered an Uber Black car.

    The idea of crowdfunding to pay for a shockingly expensive Uber ride is nothing new, and perhaps Daniel drew inspiration from Gabby, a Baltimore woman in a similar situation who managed to raise $512 to cover her $362 Uber bill last Halloween.

    Many blamed Daniel for probably being “drunk” and not reading the Uber agreement before accepting the ride.

    “It’s your own fault, man! You very clearly have to state you accept the surge by typing it. Mine was 6.0 surge at one point on Halloween therefore took a taxi,” commented a user by the name of Brian Wilson.

    The bill on the page says the user accepted the listed surge charge 10 minutes before he was picked up. According to the Uber website, users must agree to the charges before they even send out a driver.

    Some even went as far as to form an Uber conspiracy theory.

    Lauren Miller commented, “Either this person is not very smart or, more likely, this is a story engineered by someone working for the cab industry to generate anti-Uber press.”
  • commented 2015-11-07 19:53:52 -0700
    Uber’s ‘surge pricing’ surprises students with $446 ride

    Dario Balca , CTV Toronto 
    Published Saturday, November 7, 2015 11:28AM EST 
    Last Updated Saturday, November 7, 2015 11:31AM EST

    The mother of a student from Woodbridge, Ont., says she is upset after her daughter and four friends were charged $446 for an Uber ride without being warned about the company’s “surge pricing” system.

    “I was upset about it,” said Nancy Giatti, who had to pay the fare. “It’s not right.”

    Giatti said her daughter and four friends left a nightclub in downtown Toronto on Friday, Oct. 30.

    The students opted to get back home to Woodbridge using Uber to save money on a cab ride that would normally cost about $120.

    Uber is usually less expensive than traditional taxis, but the ride-sharing service’s rates are based on demand.

    “When demand for rides outstrips the supply of cars, surge pricing kicks in, increasing the price,” Uber Canada spokesperson Susie Heath told CTV News.

    At regular prices, the cost of going from Woodbridge to downtown Toronto using Uber is between $45 and $60 one way. But when the students used the service at 2:30 a.m. on a Friday night, surge pricing meant that rates were five times higher than normal.

    Uber said the students should have known about the increased rates, based on the way the app is designed.

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    “Riders are always required to provide consent to the higher price in the app before they are connected to a ride,” Heath said.

    But Giatti said surge pricing wasn’t explained to the students. Otherwise, they never would have agreed to the increased rates.

    “They asked the driver just to make sure that it wasn’t going to be an outrageous amount of money and the Uber driver told them not to worry about. It wasn’t going to be much more than $96, so they agreed to the ride,” Giatti said.

    For full-time students with part-time jobs, the cost of the ride was more than they could afford.

    “They were hurt,” Giatti said. “They felt ripped off.”

    Uber connects app users with people who have signed up to be drivers using their own vehicles. UberX, Uber Canada’s most-popular service, has been operating in Toronto for a year.

    When Giatti complained to the company, she was given a 25-per-cent refund. But she said she has advised her daughter to stop using the service and to go back to taking regular taxis instead.

    “I don’t think that it’s fair that people have to pay that type of money to get home,” Giatti said, “especially when they’re being responsible and not drinking and driving.
  • commented 2015-10-13 19:53:24 -0600
    Respected Councillor,

    Home
    Uber driver charged with sexual assault avoided Toronto police for a month before turning himself in

    Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Email

    Victor Ferreira
    Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015

    Amritpal Singh has been charged with forcible confinement and sexual assault. Toronto Police

    TORONTO — A former Uber driver who was accused of sexually assaulting a 25-year-old woman has turned himself in to Toronto police, one month after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

    Amritpal Singh, 24, was charged with forcible confinement and sexual assault Monday.

    “He was avoiding police,” Const. Jenifferjit Sidhu said.

    Police allege that Singh picked up a 25-year-old woman in the Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue on Sept. 15 area to drive her to her home near Lawrence Avenue and Avenue Road. The woman was sexually assaulted in the vehicle around 1 a.m., and reported the incident to police shortly after.

    Police said the woman suffered from minor injuries.

    Uber spokesperson Xavier Van Chau said at the time that the vehicle service was cooperating with the police investigation and that Singh was no longer listed on the platform.

    “Upon learning of these disturbing allegations, we immediately removed the driver from our platform and have reached out to law enforcement to assist in any way that we can.”

    Singh was scheduled to appear in court Monday.

    Posted in: News Tags: Toronto, Amritpal Singh, Sexual Offenses, Xavier Van Chau
  • commented 2015-10-07 10:57:39 -0600
    By Caryn Lieberman Global News
    TORONTO — A former UberX driver is suing the ride-sharing company, after a major car accident in June left him with chronic pain, without a vehicle, and in major debt.
    “I believe thousands of people are driving Uber here and they don’t know — in case god forbid anything happens to them — how exposed they are to the vulnerability,” said Tawfiq Alam.
    He was driving a passenger home along Queen Street East when a motorist ran a red light crashing into his Toyota Sienna. Both Alam and his passenger were rushed to hospital. When Alam called his insurance shortly after, his claim was denied because he had not disclosed that he would be using his vehicle for commercial purposes.
    Major damage to UberX driver’s Toyota Sienna following crash in June 2015
    “It’s attractive for people to think they could make a buck off something,” said Steve Kee from the Insurance Board of Canada.
    “But before you do that — your policies are set for certain limits so you should check with that insurance rep to find out what would happen if something horribly went wrong.”
    And that’s exactly what happened to Tawfiq Alam. He admits he had not read the fine print and believed his basic auto insurance was sufficient.
    Still, he was confident Uber could help with coverage, because he said he specifically asked the company when he signed up to become a driver about insurance protection.
    “They said we are billion dollar company, we have $5 million dollars or so in insurance protection so you don’t have to worry about that, in case you get ticket or accident you just come to us and we take care of the issue,” he recalls.
    Alam’s lawyer, Isaac Zisckind of Diamond & Diamond, said it is the first time he is dealing with an Uber claim, but suspects there are many drivers who are as unaware as his client of the limits of their basic auto coverage and whether or not Uber will step in to help.
    “When you go to Uber they don’t mention that. You don’t sign anything,” says Zisckind.
    “He was being told he would be covered and he assumed he was.”
    Alam’s lawyer is now in the process of drafting a claim to sue Uber for at least $1 million in damages and lost income.
    Alam wants other drivers to learn from his mistakes, which he said have cost him everything.
  • commented 2015-10-07 10:45:37 -0600
    Know the FACTS about UBER SCAM

    1. UberX drivers don’t have commercial insurance. 100% UberX drivers cheat on their personal insurance companies, pls call your own personal insurance company and tell them you want to drive for Uber, your insurance policy will be cancelled immediately.

    2. Uber drivers don’t pay GST/HST like taxi drivers. Uber does’t mandate its drivers to register with Revenue Canada to pay GST?

    3. Does Uber collect GST on the fares?

    4. Why Uber does’t want to pay taxes in Alberta?

    5. Uber drivers don’t carry commercial driver licences, breaking Alberta Traffic Safety Act.

    5. Uber drivers don’t get Edmonton Police Service extensive background check to work with vulnerable people.

    6. Uber drivers don’t get City shauffer permit & training.

    7. Uber drivers don’t complete mandatory Defensive Driving Course like taxi drivers.

    8.Taxi drivers can’t drive with more than 7 demerit points what about Uber drivers?

    9. No maximum vehicle age limit & mandatory City mechanical inspection.

    10. No safety shields, high resolution video cameras, emergency panic button & GPS in the vehicle for customer & driver protection.

    11. No marked vehicles like taxis for safety & no city regulated fares.

    12. Insurance Bureau of Canada & Superintendent of Alberta insurance have issued warnings about UberX no insurance
  • commented 2015-10-06 15:25:34 -0600
    Honourable Edmonton City Council,

    Council rejects rule changes that were to pave way for Uber Black

    Proposed limo bylaw changes would have allowed on-demand apps

    7:33 AM MT
    CBC News
    Share this story

    City council has rejected proposed changes to Calgary’s limousine bylaw that would have paved the way for new ride-hailing services like Uber Black to enter the market.

    As it stands, limo rides have to be booked at least 30 minutes ahead of time and the minimum fare is $84.60.

    City staff recommend eliminating that pre-booking requirement and lowering the minimum fee to $25, while also introducing a distance-based fare system to replace the existing hourly rate for limos.

    That would have allowed companies like Uber to use GPS-enabled and city-approved apps rather than traditional taxi meters.

    But on Monday night city councillors rejected the plan, instructing administration to come up with more options for regulating new on-demand transportation services in time for the Nov. 16 council meeting.

    Council’s decision to put off reforming the limo regulations prompted Uber to issue a statement late Monday night critical of the way the issue has been handled in Calgary.

    “While we remain committed to working collaboratively, the City took over 14 months to attempt to make minor amendments to the limousine bylaw,” said Xavier Van Chau, Uber’s spokesman for Canada.

    “Given this lengthy process, today’s sudden action to rapidly develop ridesharing regulations concerns us as it seems motivated by a desire to prevent a launch of new and affordable transportation alternatives in Calgary.”

    Share this story
  • commented 2015-10-06 15:24:42 -0600
    Honourable Edmonton City Council,

    Council rejects rule changes that were to pave way for Uber Black

    Proposed limo bylaw changes would have allowed on-demand apps

    7:33 AM MT
    CBC News
    Share this story

    City council has rejected proposed changes to Calgary’s limousine bylaw that would have paved the way for new ride-hailing services like Uber Black to enter the market.

    As it stands, limo rides have to be booked at least 30 minutes ahead of time and the minimum fare is $84.60.

    City staff recommend eliminating that pre-booking requirement and lowering the minimum fee to $25, while also introducing a distance-based fare system to replace the existing hourly rate for limos.

    That would have allowed companies like Uber to use GPS-enabled and city-approved apps rather than traditional taxi meters.

    But on Monday night city councillors rejected the plan, instructing administration to come up with more options for regulating new on-demand transportation services in time for the Nov. 16 council meeting.

    Council’s decision to put off reforming the limo regulations prompted Uber to issue a statement late Monday night critical of the way the issue has been handled in Calgary.

    “While we remain committed to working collaboratively, the City took over 14 months to attempt to make minor amendments to the limousine bylaw,” said Xavier Van Chau, Uber’s spokesman for Canada.

    “Given this lengthy process, today’s sudden action to rapidly develop ridesharing regulations concerns us as it seems motivated by a desire to prevent a launch of new and affordable transportation alternatives in Calgary.”

    Share this story
  • commented 2015-10-06 15:24:33 -0600
    Honourable Edmonton City Council,

    Council rejects rule changes that were to pave way for Uber Black

    Proposed limo bylaw changes would have allowed on-demand apps

    7:33 AM MT
    CBC News
    Share this story

    City council has rejected proposed changes to Calgary’s limousine bylaw that would have paved the way for new ride-hailing services like Uber Black to enter the market.

    As it stands, limo rides have to be booked at least 30 minutes ahead of time and the minimum fare is $84.60.

    City staff recommend eliminating that pre-booking requirement and lowering the minimum fee to $25, while also introducing a distance-based fare system to replace the existing hourly rate for limos.

    That would have allowed companies like Uber to use GPS-enabled and city-approved apps rather than traditional taxi meters.

    But on Monday night city councillors rejected the plan, instructing administration to come up with more options for regulating new on-demand transportation services in time for the Nov. 16 council meeting.

    Council’s decision to put off reforming the limo regulations prompted Uber to issue a statement late Monday night critical of the way the issue has been handled in Calgary.

    “While we remain committed to working collaboratively, the City took over 14 months to attempt to make minor amendments to the limousine bylaw,” said Xavier Van Chau, Uber’s spokesman for Canada.

    “Given this lengthy process, today’s sudden action to rapidly develop ridesharing regulations concerns us as it seems motivated by a desire to prevent a launch of new and affordable transportation alternatives in Calgary.”

    Share this story
  • commented 2015-10-05 14:11:27 -0600
    Hi Mr walter can you please tell me how a owner can make 40,000 by renting a vehicle for half shift.Rent is $450/week and there are 52 weeks in a year and if we multiply 450 by 52 ,comes 23,400.A owner pays 17680$ as dispatch a year and if he puts a new Toyota camry then atleast $1000 is depreciation per month of vehicle and he pays for at least $ 1600 per year for tire replacement and then he pays for windshield replacement 2-3 times a year apart from vehicle repair, oil change and other fees payable to city.Can you please see this statics than relying on misinformation provided by Nawaz goraya and Company.Secondly most of the plate owners have not got these plates from city for $400 but they have purchased from market with money they earned by hard work.
  • commented 2015-10-05 14:11:27 -0600
    Hi Mr walter can you please tell me how a owner can make 40,000 by renting a vehicle for half shift.Rent is $450/week and there are 52 weeks in a year and if we multiply 450 by 52 ,comes 23,400.A owner pays 17680$ as dispatch a year and if he puts a new Toyota camry then atleast $1000 is depreciation per month of vehicle and he pays for at least $ 1600 per year for tire replacement and then he pays for windshield replacement 2-3 times a year apart from vehicle repair, oil change and other fees payable to city.Can you please see this statics than relying on misinformation provided by Nawaz goraya and Company.Secondly most of the plate owners have not got these plates from city for $400 but they have purchased from market with money they earned by hard work.
  • commented 2015-10-05 14:11:27 -0600
    Hi Mr walter can you please tell me how a owner can make 40,000 by renting a vehicle for half shift.Rent is $450/week and there are 52 weeks in a year and if we multiply 450 by 52 ,comes 23,400.A owner pays 17680$ as dispatch a year and if he puts a new Toyota camry then atleast $1000 is depreciation per month of vehicle and he pays for at least $ 1600 per year for tire replacement and then he pays for windshield replacement 2-3 times a year apart from vehicle repair, oil change and other fees payable to city.Can you please see this statics than relying on misinformation provided by Nawaz goraya and Company.Secondly most of the plate owners have not got these plates from city for $400 but they have purchased from market with money they earned by hard work.
  • commented 2015-10-03 10:59:23 -0600
    The results of taxi deregulation in specific cities has varied widely.

    A study of taxi deregulation in nine United States cities found that the number of taxi firms increased, but large incumbent firms continued to dominate all but one of the nine cities.62 The taxi prices did not fall in real terms, but increased in every city studied.63 Turnover was concentrated among small operators (usually one-cab operators); little turnover occurred among medium and large new firms and no exit by a large incumbent firm occurred since deregulation.64 Productivity decreased by at least one-third in all four cities for which sufficient data was obtainable; the authors argued that decreases of this magnitude in productivity have serious economic consequences for taxi drivers, by shifting the industry from employee drivers to lease drivers and causing the average taxi driver to earn a lower income.65 Innovation in service did not occur in the deregulated cities because such innovations (especially shared-ride service) were doubted by taxi operators to be justified by demand and because the operators viewed that they would cause a net decrease in revenue.65 Discounts were offered in certain deregulated cities; however, these discounts were small (10% typically) and were also offered in some regulated cities.65 The study found a lack of service innovation and little change in level of service despite the increased number of taxicabs.66

    In Japan, taxi deregulation resulted in modest decreases in taxi fares (primarily among long distance trips); however, Japanese taxi fares are still very high (still the highest in the world).67 Also, taxi driver incomes decreased, and the earnings of taxi companies also decreased substantially.67 Deregulation failed to increase taxicab ridership enough to compensate taxi companies for those losses.67 The burden of deregulation fell disproportionately on taxi drivers because taxi companies increased the number of taxis rented to drivers (to make more money from rental fees), which resulted in stiff competition among drivers, decreasing their earnings.67 Transportation professor Seiji Abe of Kansai University considered deregulation to be a failure in the Japanese taxi industry (despite what he considers success in other Japanese industries).67

    In the Netherlands, taxi deregulation in 2000 failed to reach policy objectives of strengthening the role of the taxi in the overall Dutch transport system.68 Instead, the deregulation resulted in unanticipated fare increases (not decreases) in large cities, and bad driver behavior became a serious problem.68 Local authorities had lost their say in the market due to the deregulation, and thus were unable to correct these problems.68

    In South Africa, taxi deregulation has resulted in the emergence of taxi cartels which carry out acts of gun violence against rival cartels in attempts to monopolize desirable routes.69 In South Africa, taxis were deregulated in 1987, resulting in fierce competition among new drivers, who then organized into rival cartels in the absence of government regulation, and which used violence and gangland tactics to protect and expand their territories.69 These “taxi wars” have resulted in between 120–330 deaths annually since deregulation.70 These taxi cartels have engaged in anticompetitive price-fixing.71
  • commented 2015-10-03 10:58:02 -0600
    Opponents of taxi deregulation argue that deregulation will result in price increases as more taxis have to compete for the same number of riders (and thus must increase prices to continue to operate), high taxi driver turnover rates which may cause the number of less-qualified taxi drivers to increase, dishonest business practices such as price gouging (especially on airport routes) and circuitous routing, and poor customer service.56

    A Connecticut General Assembly report argues that deregulation fails to cause price decreases because taxi passengers typically do not price comparison shop when searching for taxicabs, and that fares usually increased with deregulation because the higher supply of taxis caused drivers’ earning potential to decrease.57 This report claims that deregulation resulted in dramatically increased taxi supply, especially at already overserved airport locations, fare increases in every city, and an increase in short-trip refusals by taxicab drivers.57

    This report argues that deregulation has led to undesirable results in several American cities. Seattle deregulated taxis in 1980, resulting in a high supply of taxicabs, variable rates, price gouging, short-haul refusals, poor treatment of passengers.57 As a result, Seattle re-regulated in 1984, reinstating a restriction on taxicab licenses and fare controls.57 In St. Louis, deregulation produced a 35% rise in taxi fares, and taxicab drivers complained of waiting hours at airports for customers at taxicab stands.57 Taxicab companies claimed they increased fares in order to make up for lost competition resulting from the increased supply of taxis. As a result, the St. Louis City Council froze new taxicab licenses in 2002.57

    A study of the deregulation of taxis in Sweden in 1991 showed that the taxicab supply increased, but average fares also increased in almost all cases.58 Specifically, average fares per hour increased for all trips. Average fares also increased for fares calculated by distance (per kilometer) in almost every category studied – for all customer-paid trips in municipalities of all 3 sizes (small, medium, and large) and increased for municipality-paid trips in small and large municipalities; fares only decreased for municipality-paid trips in medium-sized municipalities that were calculated per kilometer.58 Deregulation also resulted in decreased taxicab productivity and decreased taxi-company revenues.58 This study concluded that deregulation resulted in increased fares especially in rural areas and the authors argued that the increased fares were due to low taxi company revenues after deregulation.58

    Black market taxis often have problems with safety, poor customer service, and fares. This situation is made worse because customer who patronize such taxis cannot complain to the police or media. However, proponent of taxi deregulation argue that when these illegal taxis become legalized, their behavior will improve and complaints to officials about these formerly illegal taxis would be allowed.45

    Taxi companies claim that deregulation may lead to an unstable taxi market. However, one pro-deregulation study by Kitch, Isaacson and Kasper claims that the previous argument is a myth because it ignores the U.S. free taxi competition up to 1929.54

    Taxi companies claim that deregulation would cause problems, raise prices and lower service level on certain hours or in certain places.

    The medallion system has been defended by some experts. They argue that the medallion system is similar to a brand-name capital asset and enforces quality of service because quality service results in higher ridership, thus increasing the value of owning the medallion.59 They argue that issuing new medallions would decrease the medallion value and thus the incentive for the medallion owner to provide quality service or comply with city regulations.59 They also argue that the medallion may be preferable to alternate systems of regulation (such as fines, required bonds with seizures of interest payments on those bonds for violations, or licensing of all would-be taxis with revocation of that license for violations) because fines are difficult to collect, license revocation may not be a sufficient deterrent for profitable violations such as price cheating, and because using penalties on bond interest payments give regulators an incentive to impose penalties to collect revenue (rather than for legitimate violations).60 Medallions do not earn interest and thus inappropriate seizures of interest by regulators is not possible.61
  • commented 2015-09-28 15:31:21 -0600
    Respected Councillor Michael Walters!
     

    Edmonton was the last big City in Canada to regulate taxi industry, taxi plates were frozen at 1185 plates in 1995 & in 1999 City Council approved the transfer of taxi plates from one driver to another driver. This created a value for taxi plates like other Canadian cities. 85% of Edmonton taxi plate owners of today about 1150 out of 1319 have bought their taxi plates from retiring drivers from $50, 000-$225, 000. Drivers took loans from taxi brokers at 13% high interest rate, sold property, private lender loans, sold wife jewelry and took bank loans. It took 10 years on average to payout taxi plate loans. Every City has a price for taxi plate Edmonton is not unique. About 10 years ago One Edmonton cab driver was not paying his taxes so, Revenue Canada took his City taxi plate and sold in a public auction for $50, 000. City of Calgary regulated taxi industry in 1986. Taxi plates are issued on the basis of population census. Let us compare Edmonton with other Canadian cities 

     

    Winnipeg: one taxi per 1370 citizens 

    Vancouver: one taxi per 1063 citizens 

    Ottawa: one taxi per 800 citizens 

    Regina: one taxi per 1162 citizens 

     

    Calgary: one taxi per 740 citizens 

     

    Edmonton: one taxi per 665 citizens

     

     

    Unfortunately,  Mayor Don Iveson took an Uber ride last year in Toronto. On September 2, 2014 Mayor asked the administration can Uber work in Edmonton & told media that Uber could resolve Edmonton taxi crunch. Within days Uber had meetings with the City and Uber started killing Edmonton’s marginalized taxi drivers livelihood since December 18, 2014. Taxi drivers protested but to no avail. Don Iveson is a real don: he & administration did not enforce the taxi bylaw 14700. Vehicle for Hire director Gary Dziwenka was supposed to hire a consultant to study taxi demand and supply in Edmonton last year but months passed and he did not hire a consultant because a consultant’s report would have hurt Don Iveson’s plan to kill Edmonton taxi industry. A consultant’s report would have painted a clear picture to City Council that how many more taxi plates Edmonton can add. Vehicle for Hire Director claimed that Edmonton’s RFP process to hire a consultant takes few years. On Jan 20, 2015, City asked Gary Dziwenka to consult with Uber & taxi industry to present a report about ride share rules. As usual Gary consulted with Uber but ignored taxi drivers because of discrimination & bias towards immigrant cabbies. 

     

     

    City of Vancouver kicked out disruptive, illegal, destructive, unfair, unreasonable, unsafe, tax thief,  full time taxi drivers job killer Uber 3 years ago and Calgary kicked out Uber 2 years ago. Calgary administration proposed to add 383 more taxi plates but Calgary City Council only approved 126 Ambassador taxi plates, remaining plates will be issued every year on the basis of demand & supply. After violent protests UberX is banned in whole Europe, Asian countries, South America & even in American cities. 

     

     

    Every profession has job requirements & needs training. Unfortunately, 149 taxi drivers have been murdered in Canada on the job since 1912. That is why we drive Marked taxis, with GPS, Safety shields, panic buttons, vehicle emergency trunk release & now with cameras.  There should be minimum 3 years Canadian driving experience with Alberta Class 1,2 or 4 license with clean 3 years driver’s Abstract with less than 7 Demerit Points requirement. ESL test must be mandatory & City should test & start a 2 weeks comprehensive new driver training program for exceptional customer service & to work with people of all ages including special needs people like other cities do like Calgary. City should not issue a taxi/limo license until driver gets a GST number from Revenue Canada. Commercial insurance must be under the name of vehicle owner. Limit the age of Vehicle for Hire to 6 model years with mandatory mechanical inspection every 6 months. 

     

     

    Cost of running the business difference between legal Edmonton taxi & UberX bandit cab is huge about $17, 000 per year. Every year we pay for taxi license renewal, plate renewal, EPS Police Background Check, 5 Years Driver’s Abstract, City taxi inspection, Mandatory mechanical inspection, DDC Course fees. New taxi paint, decals, meter, safety shield, GPS, computer & now video cameras installation costs $4000-$5000 every 4-5  years when we put a new vehicle in taxi. We have to pay about $10, 000 per year for fleet commercial insurance. If Uber bandit cab & City taxi driver were having a 100 meter race City is putting Uber driver 70 meters ahead of taxi driver, where taxi driver has to run entire 100 meters & Uber driver will run only 30 meters.  Please don’t put cart in front of the horse. 

     

    Therefore, I humbly request City Council to immediately issue 126 Ambassador taxi plates like Calgary, kick out Uber and hire a consultant to study taxi demand and supply in Edmonton, so you can compare apples with apples not with oranges. Customers & taxi drivers want fast, convenient, effective & reliable taxi dispatch apps, Edmonton cab companies have started their taxi apps, this is a high time for the City to start City taxi app with taxi drivers money so you can have a real time idea about taxi demand & supply. Use technology to improve taxi dispatch system not to kill taxi plate owners investment, their life savings & 2500 full time Edmonton cabbies and 200 taxi company local staff jobs. We welcome Uber as a legal taxi company at a level playing field. We have more than 2000 taxi drivers present here, I request everyone to donate 50 Cents to morally bankrupt, job killer, greedy, filthy, tax thief Uber Corporation to apply for a legal Edmonton taxi brokerage license, fee is $1000. More taxi competition is good where everyone plays by the same rules.

     

     

     

     

    Legal Edmonton licensed cab driver pays to the City every year; 

    Taxi driver license renewal fee = $100
    Taxi plate renewal fee = $410

    Administration wants to increase taxi plate renewal fee to =$820
    EPS Police Background Check fee =$50
    5 years clean Driver’s Abstract fee =$40

    Other fees and costs;

    Professional driver Class 1,2 or 4 exam, training & license fee =$1000

     

    DDC course every 5 years fee=$200
    Taxi driver exam, road test, seminar & one week training fee =$1000
    ESL Test at Norquest College fee= $95

    City taxi plate transfer fee one time = $930
    Taxi driver hospitality, customer service, safe driving & to work with special needs people training at Norquest College+AMA fee=$750 

    Taxi mandatory safety shield cost =$1500

     

    New taxi paint, decals, equipment meter, GPS, video camera & computer installation cost about =$4000

    Taxi company yearly rent = $17000

    Taxi company advance accident insurance deductible deposit =$1850

    Insurance surcharge by cab company for at fault accident =$8000 (payable in 3 years)

    Taxi radio license annual fee=$100
    Taxi commercial vehicle registration fee=$100
    Annual mechanical inspection fee=$150

    Cars older than 5 model years need inspection after every 6 months fee=$300

    Average annual taxi repair cost brakes, oil changes, summer & winter tires, car washes & upkeep about=$5000

    On average a car will last only 4-5 years as a taxi, most drivers are now buying brand new hybrid Toyota Camry, Prius cars & vans for about=$32000

    Monthly car payment of about=$525

    Car depreciation = $ 30%

    Taxi plate price = $100, 000 – $225,000

     

    Average yearly cost for an Edmonton taxi plate holder driver is about = $29000

     

     

    Thank you,

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     
  • commented 2015-09-28 15:27:22 -0600
    Honourable Michael Walters,

    I am a law abiding, hard working taxi driver in Edmonton. I am a sole bread earner for my growing family. Full time taxi driving is my life line.

    Why all Canadian Provinces & Territories set a minium wage? For taxi drivers taxi meter is the minium wage. In Edmonton taxi meter rate is same for the last 7 years, while broker rent, commercial insurance, repair, City fees & cost of living has gone up. Did you ever wonder how taxi drivers make ends meet? 

    Uber was successfully kicked out by Vancouver & Calgary 3 years ago why? Uber drivers were succefully ticketed and prosecuted for driving without commercial insurance, driver licenses, city permits, with outstanding warrants and breaking the minimum limo hourly booking rate of $75? Calgary Mayor Nenshi stood up to Uber’s bullying tactics & told Calgarians that Uber has no insurance & being jerks won’t win favours in Calgary, Uber has to play by the same rules as taxis? Why Uber’s online petition & fabricated anti taxi  & Uber love emails had no impact on the Calgary & Vancouver City Council? That is why no Uber in Calgary & Vancouver. For better customer service, vehicle standard and driver wages City’s set meter & flat rates for taxis and limos. Our City’s minum hourly rate for limos was $75 in last Bylaw 14700?

    Unfortunately, our City Council is bowing in front of bully Uber. Our business is 40% down because of UberX. Many times drivers have to fight with Uber drivers over street hails. 

    Unfortunately, City is eliminating driver English Language test, training, vehicle for hire age, defensive driving course and drivers Abstract to serve whose interest consumer or Uber? Under old bylaw 14700 no taxi/limo/shuttle driver can drive with more than 7 demerit points. What City and Consumer don’t need safe drivers & vehicles anymore? Except Edmonton all Canadian cities have 1 or 2 weeks new driver training programs why? Vehicle for Hire drivers are City Ambassadors therefore, there should be a standard training program. I request for following urgent changes.

    1. Keep the old taxi Bylaw 14700, just include app dispatch in the definition.

    2. Minimum 3 years Canadian driving experience to become a commercial driver.

    3. Alberta Class 1,2 or 4 License

    4. ESL Test

    5. Clean Driver’s Abstract with less than 7 demerit points.

    6. Defensive driving course.

    7. Should get mandatory extensive EPS Background Check with finger prints to work with vulnerable people like taxi drivers. City currently only accepts EPS background checks to support EPS revenue, when 4000 taxi/limo drivers pay to EPS every year, its enough money to hire 5 new police officers. Why change it for bully Uber? Why you don’t want to support EPS anymore…..for who……Uber? 

    8. City run Ambassador Vehicle for Hire training program like other cities. Consumers need exceptional service.

    9. No Vehicle for Hire License until you get GST Number from CRA like Calgary,  we don’t support tax avedars. Taxi drivers can’t drive without registering & getting GST number from Revenue Canada. Do you know, why Uber allows drivers to drive without  getting GST Number & paying GST? Revenue Australia made all Uber drivers to register & pay GST like taxi drivers last year on August 1, 2015. “If you drive passengers in a car for a fare, you may be providing ‘taxi travel’, and if you are, you need to register for GST.” Uber protested in Australia that paying taxes makes Uber business model expensive because Uber is a bully technology company. Don’t go far City of Calgary does’t issue a license until driver gets a GST Number from Revenue Canada. Does Edmonton City Council supports tax cheat Uber? Uber does’t want to pay taxes in Alberta, why?

    10. Maximum age of Vehicle should be 5 model years with mandatory mechanical inspection every 6 months. Consumers need safe and comfortable commercial vehicles. Limo sedan vehicle age should be 8 years & stretch limo vehicle 10 years like City of Calgary.

    11. Mandatory snow/winter tires before November 15 of every year.

    12. All vehicles should have same type of commercial insurance under the name of vehicle owner,  no hybrid insurance policy should be allowed to have a level playing field. Taxi & Limo drivers pay upto $10, 000 per year for commercial insurance. Please call & tell your own personal auto insurance company that you want to drive for Uber, your insurance company will cancel your insurance policy right away? Why Uber tells drivers to cheat on their personal insurance companies? 100% Uber drivers hide & cheat on their personal insurance companies, all for consumer safety right? Full commercial insurance must be under the name of City plate owner. Uber offers cheap rides because of no commercial insurance cost, license fees, EPS BACKGROUND Checks, vehicle inspections, safety features in vehicles & non payment of GST & taxes in Alberta.

    13.  For hire Vehicles should be marked with mandatory GPS, secrect panic button, safety shield and panic buttons. Unfortunately, 149 cab drivers have been murdered in Canada on the job & 16 in Edmonton since 1912. These safety features save lives. We had a vote in 2006 for mandatory safety shields & more than 90% drivers wanted them, why? We got safety shields after the murder of Edmonton cab driver Hassan Yusuf & now you want to get rid of them for who?

    14. Taxi meter rate should stay same all times to reduce potential conflicts with customers & among drivers.

    15. Immediately issue 126 new Ambassador taxi plates like what Calgary did after kicking out Uber.  Hire a professional  consultant to study taxi demand & supply and issue more taxi plates based on census data.

    16.  Hold a vote of Edmonton taxi drivers to start City taxi dispatch app with taxi drivers money. For van trips van charge should be $9 extra. Limo minimum hourly rate should stay $75 to protect taxi & limo drivers from potential conflicts. Fare structure was put in place after a very thoughtful process. Every Canadian jurisdiction has these rates in place.

    17.  Uber is working as a taxi company in many jurisdictions, tell Uber to open as a taxi company & play by the same rules.

    Unfortunately, 1 Council member asked 2 speakers that there is a demand for Uber. All Edmonton cab companies now have taxi hailing phone apps. Customers & drivers want fast taxi dispatch system. There is a demand from Edmontonians not to raise property taxes every year, no photo radar vans, no reduced speed limits, no smoking ban, no expensive downtown parking & there are people who want drugs etc; are you meeting those demands?

    Greedy Bully Uber is violating Edmonton Vehicle for Hire Bylaw 14700 & Alberta Traffic Safety Act to make money for its share holders & 4000 lawfull  full time employed Edmonton taxi and limo drivers are struggling to make ends meet for their needy families.

    Taxi is one of the biggest employers in Edmonton for visible minorities. We humbly request you that please don’t kill drivers investment & livelihood in the name of technology.  Don’t start a race to the bottom for unsustainable living income for drivers, and poor, unsafe service for consumers. We want an equal and fair playing field to continuously support our famlies please. 

    Thank you,
  • commented 2015-09-28 15:23:33 -0600
    Respected City Councilor,

    Draft Bylaw 17400 will devastate the livelihood & investment of  about 4000 Edmonton’s struggling Taxi & Limo industry full time drivers. Uber Black Limo Service was successfully kicked out from Vancouver in 2012 & from Calgary in 2014 for violating the minimum limo hourly rate of $70 & $84.60 respectively. In Edmonton minimum rate for limo was  $75 in old Bylaw 14700, that is why there is no Uber Limo Service in Edmonton killing limo business yet but unfortunately, in new draft Bylaw 17400 there is no minimum set rate for limo, so Uber Black Limo service can start and destroy legitimate, vibrant Edmonton Limo Industry. Do you know hundreds of Limo drivers have invested $50, 000-$150, 000 on sedan & stretch limo vehicles? Why you want to destroy a well established industry? There is a set minimum limo hourly rate in all Canadian cities to gurantee decent wage for the drivers. Does it make sense to remove driver training, English Language Test, Defensive driving course, driver’s abstract with less than 7 demerit points, GST Number Registration & extensive EPS BACKGROUND CHECK with finger prints to work with vulnerable people conditions? Who is running the City & who wrote this senseless Draft Bylaw 17400?
    You want to have a lawless industry for who……Uber…..Why?

     Why Alberta Government has a minimum wage? For taxi & limo drivers meter & set fixed rates are minimum wage. “When The Best Mayor in the World Naheed Nenshi kicked out bully Uber he told Calgarians that Uber has no insurance & being jerks won’t win favours in Calgary, if Uber wants to operate have to play by the same rules”. Last year Calgary City Council issued 126 new Conditional Ambassador taxi plates, they have to operate from 4 p.m.  - 4 a.m. Friday & Saturday nights & they can work unlimited hours during rest of the week. Every year Calgary will issue more taxi plates based on demand & supply and census data.

     Unfortunately, our Mayor Don Iveson is acting like a brand Ambassador for Uber. He asked administration on September 2, 2014, could Uber work in Edmonton & told CBC News that Uber could solve Edmonton taxi crunch. After Uber started violating Edmonton taxi Bylaw 14700 on December 18, 2014, Mayor Don Iveson told media on January 20, 2015, that “status quo is not working” and now on September 16, 2015, “Mayor Don Iveson said that Uber is working in a grey area”

     Please compare response of Mayor Nenshi with Mayor Iveson on the Uber issue. Uber on line petition 9000 signatures in Calgary & thousands of Uber love, anti technology & anti taxi drivers emails had no impact on the Calgary Mayor, why? Why our honourable Mayor Don Iveson did not issue Uber no insurance & unlicensed service warning to Edmontonians? IBC & Superintendent of Alberta insurance issued warning about UberX no insurance. 

    Therefore, we humbly request you to kill 4000+ full time taxi & limo drivers job killer Draft Bylaw 17400. Please take a page from Mayor Nenshi, immediately issue126 new Ambassador taxi plates & issue more taxi plates on yearly census data. Let hard working immigrant drivers & their families make their Canadian dreams. 

    Thank you so much,
  • commented 2015-09-28 01:46:26 -0600
    Hi Mr walter can you please tell me how a owner can make 40,000 by renting a vehicle for half shift.Rent is $450/week and there are 52 weeks in a year and if we multiply 450 by 52 ,comes 23,400.A owner pays 17680$ as dispatch a year and if he puts a new Toyota camry then atleast $1000 is depreciation per month of vehicle and he pays for at least $ 1600 per year for tire replacement and then he pays for windshield replacement 2-3 times a year apart from vehicle repair, oil change and other fees payable to city.Can you please see this statics than relying on misinformation provided by Nawaz goraya and Company.Secondly most of the plate owners have not got these plates from city for $400 but they have purchased from market with money they earned by hard work.
  • commented 2015-09-25 14:32:25 -0600
    Further going by statistics across other big cities in Canada, the Edmonton city’s taxi services have following perfected system :
    1. Complaint ratio is 40,000:1, like for every 40,000 rides one complaint on taxi services.
    2. Wait times : average wait time is 7-8 minutes when dispatches sent out to taxis computer. Winnipeg/calgary have average 20 minutes or more wait time, Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto metro area have about 15 minutes wait time or so. I do not have right figures for cities in PQ.
    This wait time is quicker than our emergency services in most part of it within the city of Edmonton limit.
    3. The complaint readdressal system :
    Hierarchy is like this: first the driver who choses to be in the industry, if so, does his best to address the customer satisfaction then and there, next
    Dispatch 24 X 7, next Dispatch supervisor to investigate through driver manager, next brokers general manager, next 311, next city VFH , next city councillors next the team lead – the mayor and the top most one is the legal system. On the contrary Uber is not going to even allow you/the city to access their driver on real terms, what about this highly regulated taxi industry. Please get some real home work why the other leaders/law makers in bigger cities do not want Uber.
    If Some Edmontian gets hurt in a Uber car, he will definitely involve city, as a party to his/her insurance claims for their half hearted work and edmontonians have to bear the cost to protect their mayor and team from a law suit through spending on law firms who specializes in municipal laws in this city. Just saying it happened in other cities and history always repeats, sooner or later.

    4. When the Edmonton taxi services are at the best possible milestone at what they know well or at six sigma standards where is the need to change the standard. Wasting time in wrong leadership roles sends wrong signal everywhere. Let VFH bylaws do their job which they know at their best. No body gains any positive result by enforcing something which hurts every stake holder in taxi business bottom line and city does not do business for profit.

    The points and comments here above is purely personal thoughts of the writer and will not be responsible for any legal consequences whatsoever.
    The author trying to piece together the public information available from news agencies, media reports and other dignitaries as well.

    Thank you Mr, Michael in anticipation of getting to this line.
  • commented 2015-09-25 06:05:02 -0600
    Hi Mr. Michael,
    I have few things to say here, trying to be brief, without knowing the pressure our councillors might have, to fit Uber into taxi gamut in Edmonton.
    Just curious to know from you that how many Edmontonians from your ward 10 did not vote for you, no offence, like they wanted somebody else other than Mr. Michael? I am sure you still work for all of them and still be responsible doing your home work to make this city a forward moving metro at the cost of 2500 full time taxi drivers? Citizens will always want more freedom, more options in and around every where who are real world hard working guys trying to save a buck without much of complexity in the taxi transportation system all over the world but I opine that the incumbent Edmonton councillors have maturity to understand the history first and look around other sister cities in Canada & may ask themselves a very simple question why this taxi industry need to be so much regulated and why all other cities does not certify uber legally??

    What you see the pro uber guys with hoardings and uber supporters are like the guys in your riding (ward10) who did not vote for you and you still are accountable to them as a decision maker for their good future.

    I will brief you here a normal hardship of a taxi driver which he necessarily does as part of his job in his everyday shift, seven days a week, 366 days in a lunar year, 12 hours a shift.
    1. He cannot say to his client that I will not clean if you puke in my car and why are you so drunk and why you screaming at me at the first place, that’s a taxi drivers business to reach them safely home.
    2. Help the seniors, accessible, M&P challenged guys, school children, sick persons, help the clients taking the grocery upstairs etc, without any extra consideration and likes what he does and how he does, with attention to every other erring road users, with a smile, keeping engaged with the clients while doing all this! This is of course the professionalism a client expects from a taxi driver, and a city taxi delivers.
    3. Now what do u think, how much the renumeration for 7 days , 12 hours shift signed on job: $10 per hour, after paying gas and rent, that’s the right guess I think. An owner operator might get about $1000 per month extra in real terms and that is less than the normal returns what you get from similar cash investment else where, e.g. Return on your $200,000/- plus car expenses with your several obligation from city/ insurance deductible, licensing fees and getting the car on the road in his time in case of accidents or mechanical repair. I hope you know all if this. It’s a business where most of the existing owners did not buy the city plate license in 1995 at $400.00 when city capped the plate at 1100 or plus numbers.
    4. Do you know Mr. Michael, what is the amount of fear you have when you see a wrongful driver jumps a red light in front of you and your car survived by inches, and eventually you survived? It’s a risk everybody takes when we are on the road, but it’s no fun for taxi driver, it’s an every day job. So what the reward or consideration or incentive for the risks being on the road as he is the guy meant to be on the road and make descent living. 84 hours a week behind the wheel sacrificing all his so called party features and disciplined by the taxi by laws and expectations are the important factors you miss while taking a huge decision to get Uber on the board.
    5. By taking uber IN/ NTCs you will not help in my opinion, the uber pro guys, as they will still earn less than regular taxi guys, trying to work 8 days a week when they have anytime, more than 12 hours a day, dedication and professionalism will be far away, their life will be always harder than normal average guys as to do everything by them self when they themselves are kind of come and go type. It will make a fearful living financially as like any other guys who are near bankruptcy, simply because uber will take their one and will be left $5-7 an hour for their drivers. I would rather urge you sir to get this figure from Uber as they always claim to be playing transparent with the city. Your decision to get uber in, will bring the taxi drivers wages down to $7-8 per hour net and the consequences will be to direct the professional taxi drivers to live in fear as their financial burden will be definitely more than you can asses at this point. They are agitated to let you realize that if your weekly hours are forcefully cut to half say 20 hours per week, how you would survive, in this slow economy. Mr. councillor, it’s hard to understand the complexity and problems of a family who just lost the job of his main earning member in the family or reduced net wages to take home. I am sure you will never understand the hardship of a taxi driver, never.

    6. Further please look at the several provincial, city and federal laws, by laws they (uber) flout which are mentioned in the recent court submission by taxi brokers in Edmonton and other cities as well. There is a good reason for everything which has an identity, please understand why other leaders in more advance cities are not doing this, what you are insisting to get them(Uber). They will make money and will grow at the cost and sweat of professional Edmonton taxi drivers who had been living a descent family life, will now lead a very unstable, financial fearful life because of your such decision. Please and please DONOT make any family’s living more hard then before without going part by part to the bottom of the links to where it hits the most.

    The points and comments here above is purely personal thoughts of the writer and will not be responsible for any legal consequences whatsoever.
    The author trying to piece together the public information available from news agencies, media reports and other dignitaries as well.

    Thank you Mr, Michael in anticipation of getting to this line.

    Raj
  • commented 2015-09-25 05:58:58 -0600
    Hi Mr. Michael,
    I have few things to say here, trying to be brief, without knowing the pressure our councillors might have, to fit Uber into taxi gamut in Edmonton.
    Just curious to know from you that how many Edmontonians from your ward 10 did not vote for you, no offence, like they wanted somebody else other than Mr. Michael? I am sure you still work for all of them and still be responsible doing your home work to make this city a forward moving metro at the cost of 2500 full time taxi drivers? Citizens will always want more freedom, more options in and around every where who are real world hard working guys trying to save a buck without much of complexity in the taxi transportation system all over the world but I opine that the incumbent Edmonton councillors have maturity to understand the history first and look around other sister cities in Canada & may ask themselves a very simple question why this taxi industry need to be so much regulated and why all other cities does not certify uber legally??

    What you see the pro uber guys with hoardings and uber supporters are like the guys in your riding (ward10) who did not vote for you and you still are accountable to them as a decision maker for their good future.

    I will brief you here a normal hardship of a taxi driver which he necessarily does as part of his job in his everyday shift, seven days a week, 366 days in a lunar year, 12 hours a shift.
    1. He cannot say to his client that I will not clean if you puke in my car and why are you so drunk and why you screaming at me at the first place, that’s a taxi drivers business to reach them safely home.
    2. Help the seniors, accessible, M&P challenged guys, school children, sick persons, help the clients taking the grocery upstairs etc, without any extra consideration and likes what he does and how he does, with attention to every other erring road users, with a smile, keeping engaged with the clients while doing all this! This is of course the professionalism a client expects from a taxi driver, and a city taxi delivers.
    3. Now what do u think, how much the renumeration for 7 days , 12 hours shift signed on job: $10 per hour, after paying gas and rent, that’s the right guess I think. An owner operator might get about $1000 per month extra in real terms and that is less than the normal returns what you get from similar cash investment else where, e.g. Return on your $200,000/- plus car expenses with your several obligation from city/ insurance deductible, licensing fees and getting the car on the road in his time in case of accidents or mechanical repair. I hope you know all if this. It’s a business where most of the existing owners did not buy the city plate license in 1995 at $400.00 when city capped the plate at 1100 or plus numbers.
    4. Do you know Mr. Michael, what is the amount of fear you have when you see a wrongful driver jumps a red light in front of you and your car survived by inches, and eventually you survived? It’s a risk everybody takes when we are on the road, but it’s no fun for taxi driver, it’s an every day job. So what the reward or consideration or incentive for the risks being on the road as he is the guy meant to be on the road and make descent living. 84 hours a week behind the wheel sacrificing all his so called party features and disciplined by the taxi by laws and expectations are the important factors you miss while taking a huge decision to get Uber on the board.
    5. By taking uber IN/ NTCs you will not help in my opinion, the uber pro guys, as they will still earn less than regular taxi guys, trying to work 8 days a week when they have anytime, more than 12 hours a day, dedication and professionalism will be far away, their life will be always harder than normal average guys as to do everything by them self when they themselves are kind of come and go type. It will make a fearful living financially as like any other guys who are near bankruptcy, simply because uber will take their one and will be left $5-7 an hour for their drivers. I would rather urge you sir to get this figure from Uber as they always claim to be playing transparent with the city. Your decision to get uber in, will bring the taxi drivers wages down to $7-8 per hour net and the consequences will be to direct the professional taxi drivers to live in fear as their financial burden will be definitely more than you can asses at this point. They are agitated to let you realize that if your weekly hours are forcefully cut to half say 20 hours per week, how you would survive, in this slow economy. Mr. councillor, it’s hard to understand the complexity and problems of a family who just lost the job of his main earning member in the family or reduced net wages to take home. I am sure you will never understand the hardship of a taxi driver, never.

    6. Further please look at the several provincial, city and federal laws, by laws they (uber) flout which are mentioned in the recent court submission by taxi brokers in Edmonton and other cities as well. There is a good reason for everything which has an identity, please understand why other leaders in more advance cities are not doing this, what you are insisting to get them(Uber). They will make money and will grow at the cost and sweat of professional Edmonton taxi drivers who had been living a descent family life, will now lead a very unstable, financial fearful life because of your such decision. Please and please DONOT make any family’s living more hard then before without going part by part to the bottom of the links to where it hits the most.

    The points and comments here above is purely personal thoughts of the writer and will not be responsible for any legal consequences whatsoever.
    The author trying to piece together the public information available from news agencies, media reports and other dignitaries as well.

    Thank you Mr, Michael in anticipation of getting to this line.

    Raj
  • commented 2015-09-24 16:42:22 -0600
    Mr Walters, I don’t agree to what you are proposing here. First, you’re saying that a plate owner can make $40000 a year just by renting is way too exaggerated. Doing a simple math assuming $450 a week rent, it comes out to be $22500 (450×50). Then there’s car depreciation and maintenance(car life gets on third and repairs triple), driver’s rent to the broker (you pay more to the broker if you rented out your car), loss of one’s own driving time and flexibility and car payment. If a plate owner could make $40000 just by renting the plare then value of the plate would be at least $500000. So please do enough detailed analysis before making such judgment specially when it comes to numbers.

    Now coming to main issue, the so called ride sharing is nothing but deregulated taxi service in the name of innovation. Different municipalities all across North America and rest of the world, have a number of reasons to regulate the industry, but only thing needed is to effectively enforce the regulations. This will also ensure better customer service. Uber has just an app in the name of technology and for that only it charges 20-30% of commission which is ridiculous to me. The citizens just good and reliable service and it doesn’t have to be ride sharing. Ride sharing economy is in no way the right way to go as there will be a large number of people working to make small amount of money whereas big corporations like Uber will keep on getting filthy rich. Regulations have evolved over time with the experiences, deregulation would just mean going back in past creating a world where it’s survival of the fittest. Taxi industry has the potential to adapt the technology without sacrificing any of the regulations.
  • commented 2015-09-22 21:37:51 -0600
    Mr. Walters,
    The argument you are providing for Uber as an alternative for taxi drivers (not owner operators) is baseless. Nobody makes money driving for Uber (their current cut is 25 to 30 percent) except Uber and will go up in future. They charge this whilst having no operational costs. Their model works because somebody will always keep driving for them….i leave and you start. Even if one driver gives 10 trips a month and leaves Uber. Uber will still make money.
    The most important thing the other commenter also picked up is Uber’s model can only work in an unregulated environment because only that allows them to charge the lowest fare. Without that it will not be sustainable. They have refused to work with drivers who went and sought commercial insurance on their own.
  • commented 2015-09-22 19:28:12 -0600
    Michael, as much as many of your constituents want Uber to stay - as much as they bemoan the taxi business in Edmonton today - and as well meaning you and your colleagues are on Council, here is the inevitable outcome: If ride-sharing services could be even MINIMALLY regulated, and if insurers could even PARTIALLY rate for the risk (which is optimistic at best), Uber would no longer be the service everyone currently loves. Drivers would no longer be willing to drive under those terms, and passengers won’t be willing to pay what Uber would need to charge. Uber only works as an unregulated, black market, enterprise.

    There is and can be no solution.

    Also, let’s address the elephant in the room. From a few conversations I’ve had with Uber lovers (code for taxi haters), one thing is pretty clear to me; most people’s desire to be able to ride in a vehicle with “someone like themselves” behind the wheel is actually racism and classism in disguise. We’ve come a long way, baby (Heritage Festival, Caribana, Gay Pride, etc.) and yet, in many ways, we’ve not yet become that 21st century cosmopolitan city we strive for.