The city of Hamilton in Ontario are seeking ways to accommodate ride-sharing company Uber, but in the meantime the council has outlawed Uber drivers who don’t have commercial auto insurance. The city says it will seek a court injunction if drivers continue to operate without insurance coverage, although authorities admit policing Uber drivers is a tough task.
Last Wednesday the city voted to ban Uber drivers without commercial insurance as the council seeks new laws in licensing to adopt the ride-sharing giant. Those new laws would likely mirror other Canadian municipalities and include drivers needing both Class 4 licenses and workable auto insurance coverage. The city is also seeking a payment of $50,000 per year for Uber to operate in the city, other regions in Canada have demanded $70,000 or more.
Ken Leendertse, who is among those spearheading as proposal for a new licensing category, says that enforcing a ban against drivers without the same insurance as taxi operatives is hard. He said even drivers who are caught are just going to sit in the system as the 32 charges already filed against Uber drivers from the city are still languishing in court.
“You can’t just stand on the road (and spot them) because you don’t know who the vehicles are,” said Leendertse, who is also Hamilton’s director of licensing. He offered that the only way to catch drivers is a sting like scenario where authorities use the Uber app to hail the drivers.
“The challenges in the enforcement avenue are difficult,” Leendertse told city council’s general issues committee. “It becomes a very difficult process and a very limiting process.”
As in other Canadian cities, including Hamilton’s neighbor Toronto, Uber has been met with ferocious protests from taxi drivers and their representatives. Mass protests have been conducted, including at the Wednesday meeting, where 40 taxi drivers were in attendance.