Uber has taken an unusual stance in Toronto and issued the council with a set of guide regulations that the company would accept to become legal in the city.
The Toronto city council is readying to change bylaws that will work in regulations to accept Uber and other ride-sharing companies. However, there are no guarantees that the U.S. based company would accept the regulations and would then either leave the market or continue operating in the city unregulated.
In a bid to make the process smoother, Uber has said Toronto should look to Edmonton as a guide to the kinds of regulations that the company would be willing to work with.
In January, the Edmonton council voted to legalize Uber on the basis that the company would follow set criteria including vehicle inspections, driver background checks, Class 4 licenses for drivers, and adequate auto insurance coverage. The company reluctantly agreed to the stipulations and would already be legally operating in Edmonton if it was not for an auto insurance stumbling block that means Uber must wait until the summer for the province of Alberta to amend its laws.
The auto insurance problem would not be a problem in Toronto, where Aviva Canada offers an Ontario exclusive insurance product that covers ride-sharing driver working for companies like Uber. The first of its kind policy means drivers do not to have the huge cost of commercial coverage and can work for Uber legally. The company says it is working with other provincial governments to expand the product around Canada.
So, Uber is saying the Edmonton model could work in Toronto, although some critics are already pointing to the fact that Uber only agreed to the Edmonton regulations after trying to have them lessened to be even more accommodating.
Regardless, Ian Black, General Manager for Uber Canada, said “The Edmonton model … has shown that there’s a way to protect consumer interests, protect public safety, but also allow for innovation.”
In Edmonton, Uber also has to pay $70,000 per year to the city, plus 6 cents on every fare, with a minimum fare capped to $3.25 per ride. A similar system could be adopted in Toronto, and the city has hinted that Edmonton is a precedent that it has been looking at closely. The city’s final report on ride-sharing companies is expect April 7.