Uber Canada continues to operate unregulated in the country and unaffected by opposition from taxi unions and representatives. It is a situation the company seems comfortable with, especially as municipalities are slowly starting to form bylaws that would regulate the Uber X service. The U.S. ride-sharing giant says that it is not even worried about taxi companies creating their own apps that offer an Uber-like service.
Using a smartphone application, Uber customers can connect with freelance drivers and pay for a fare before entering the vehicles. The ride-sharing concept has become hugely popular and taxi companies are scrambling to keep up, with many touting the idea of also developing their own Uber-like app services.
Uber Canada’s legal director, Jeremy Millard, says that the company is not worried about taxi companies exploring such services and said the taxi industry is not even the main rival for Uber. The company has long said it is a tech company and not a taxi provider, and it sees the ride-sharing model as something that consumers will one day use to replace their actual vehicles.
With that in mind, Millard says that private car ownership is actually the main competition for Uber, while he added that little differences to municipal bylaws decide whether Uber can operate. Speaking at the Corporate Counsel Association of Canada’s national conference in Calgary, Millard said his day is dominated by trying to find a pathway to legality.
“The problem with that is most drivers are not driving full time. Most drivers are driving less than 10 hours a week and so to have a high barrier of entry in terms of on-boarding a driver is not useful … We want to be able to get drivers on as simply and as easily as possible,” he said.
It may seem like there’s just a “somewhat technical distinction” between the fee structures in Alberta’s two biggest cities, but Millard said “the smallest difference in a regulation can have vast impacts.”