Uber has made good on its promise to depart from the Edmonton market, as stated through the company’s Alberta chief on Monday. The U.S. ride-sharing company says the departure is only until the province decides to amend a bylaw allowing its drivers to access auto insurance.
Pulling out of the market follows a similar move by Uber to leave the Calgary market last week, although the circumstances of the departure are different. In Calgary the company disagreed with a new bylaw that was created to accommodate the UberX service, but in Edmonton Uber agreed with regulations and is merely waiting to be able to enter the city legally.
In January, the city council in Edmonton voted to legalize the Uber service provided the company agreed to vehicle checks, driver licenses similar to traditional taxi drivers, and acquiring sufficient auto insurance. Uber agreed to these stipulations and said it had agreed with Intact Insurance to create a policy for its drivers in Alberta, something first announced last year.
The ride-sharing company, which connects passengers with freelance drivers, asked the province to work a bylaw before March 1 that would accommodate the new insurance policy. The government did not comply, although the province does say that it has approved the insurance and it will be ready by June or July.
Unlike in other cities, such as Toronto, where it has continued to operate while the company deals with regulations, Uber has decided to obey the law and pull out of Edmonton until the province finalizes the insurance. Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson said the city would not delay the bylaw to allow Uber to operate unregulated in the meantime.
“If they operate without insurance, they’re going to be in a lot of trouble,” Iveson said.
Transportation Minister Brian Mason said the insurance will be ready in June or July 1 at the latest, while adding that this scenario was well known to authorities and Uber alike.
“We’ve always been working along the basis that the insurance product wouldn’t be ready until June or July. I believe Uber and the city have been aware of that.”