Edmonton became the first municipality in Canada to legalize ride-sharing companies with regulations in January, but the some city councilors are calling for the law to be revised and be stricter.
The laws were created after Uber’s unregulated rise in the city, but ultimately the company was unable to comply with the regulations (no auto insurance) and had to leave Edmonton. In place of Uber, TappCar stepped into the void touting a system that offered the same kind of service as Uber, but will little of the regulatory troubles.
Fast forward a few months and Edmonton councilors are saying TappCar has been the subject of numerous complaints, and may not be the solution it was presented as. The company is accused of exploiting loopholes in the new legislation and councilors think the laws should be tightened in response.
Of particular concern is the company’s overuse of large decals, which could be used to attract street hails. Under the regulations, only traditional taxis are allowed to be hailed by customers on the street, with ride-sharing companies needing to interact with passengers through an app. Large decals could be a way to attract consumer attention for street hails, but there are no stipulations in the laws about this kind of advertising.
“I think it’s not what council had in mind,” Iveson said. “I believe the … bylaw will have to be tighten up to put a stop to that.”
TappCar says it is willing to tone down the size of its decals, but said the company needs to have some kind of decal decorations. Pascal Ryffel, a spokesperson for the company said:
“If you don’t have any decals at all, there’s no way of knowing for sure that you’re getting into a car that’s supposed to be driving vehicle-for-hire,” Ryffel said. “It becomes a security issue.”
In a twist to the story, Uber is likely to re-enter Edmonton in the coming weeks as the company gained an auto insurance policy from Intact Insurance on Wednesday.