While Calgary’s vote to reintroduce Uber has been met with staunch opposition from cabbies, the US ride-sharing company seems to have the key players on side. Namely, politicians and the mayor of the city. Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi is the latest to support a positive vote to help Uber come back to the city.
He has also taken the Livery and Transportation Advisory Committee to task on its late-in-the-day attempts to give taxis more leverage.
Uber first launched in Calgary during October 2015. It was illegally operating in the city and was met with staunch opposition from authorities, with the government taking an injunction against the company. As Canadian municipalities warmed to the economic benefits of the sharing industry, Calgary drew up bylaws to accommodate Uber and companies of its type.
However, the US-based company disagreed with some stipulations and decided it could not viably operate in Calgary, so left the market entirely. Since then, there have been rumors of a deal between Uber and the government to see the company return.
While negotiations have undoubtedly been happening, the taxi industry does not believe Uber should be given special treatment. The biggest critic of the company, the traditional cab industry says other sharing companies have managed to operate within Calgary’s regulations, so Uber should do the same and not be given concessions to return.
LTAC held a meeting on Friday and came up with a plan that for all intents and purposes seeks to delay Uber’s reintroduction. The advisory committee voted to draw a 90 day waiting period (the timeframe for a new plate) and use the interim to get 220 more taxis on the streets before Uber comes back.
“I find that argument incomprehensible,” Mayor Naheed Nenshi said Monday.
Nenshi adds that he struggles to see how adding more plates will help “at all.”
“I don’t see it as anything more than an increase in the stand rents that cab drivers pay to brokerages,” said Nenshi. “I’ll listen very carefully when that comes to council.”
Nenshi said the “minor bylaw changes” are reasonable, and that he supports ride-sharing because of the flexibility it brings, especially for customers.
“Back in February I said our model is a model for the whole country,” concluded Nenshi. “The TNCs have given in on all the important stuff, on insurance, on licensing, on the inspections, on all the stuff that surrounds safety.”