TappCar is a ride-sharing company that arrived in Edmonton to take advantage of the regulatory confusion of Uber in the city, but taxi unions say it is still illegal.
Uber became the first Canadian municipality to legalize Uber. It was also the first city in which Uber decided to play nice with authorities and agree with the laws, something the company has not afforded in some other areas.
However, a situation where the city legalized Uber before the province had meant Uber was left in limbo while the province worked on its own bylaw, which included auto insurance stipulations. Those problems are likely to be cleared this summer, allowing Uber to operate once more in Edmonton, but in the meantime TappCar emerged as further competition for taxis and Uber.
Taxi unions and drivers say TappCar is also breaking the law however, even breaking Edmonton’s new bylaw which was drawn to accommodate Uber. The regulations state the private transportation providers (PTPs) can take passenger only if they are booked through an application. It is the distinction the city used to separate Uber from taxis and to give taxi drivers a chance to have fair competition, while also protecting consumers from surge pricing.
Some taxi associations say that TappCar is abusing the law just months after it was introduced. Jasbir Gil of the Edmonton Taxi Association said the government and TappCar have been sent of their drivers collecting passengers like a traditional cab.
TappCar said incidents where its drivers picked up passengers might not have looked like it seemed. Spokesperson Pascal Ryffel said that as an example the company has signed a deal with FC Edmonton to collect fans after matches, but while it looked like these fans were just hailing TappCar vehicles, they were actually pre-arranged trips organized through an iPad.