1:30 p.m., April 13)
City council votes to legalize Uber
By Fred Sherwin
drivers in Ottawa will be able to operate legally as of
Sept. 30, so long as they pass several criteria aimed
at protecting consumers.
city council have approved regulations that
will allow private transportation companies
to operate legally beginning Sept. 20. File
drivers will have to clear a criminal records and vulnerable
sector check; provide up to $2 million in commercial lia-bility
insurance; and acquire an operating license from the city.
conditions were passed by city council on Wednesday
as part of the new regulations governing the vehicle-for-hire
industry, including taxis.
a call from some councillors for Uber to suspend operations
until the compliance date, the ride sharing app-based
company will continue transporting customers while its
drivers self comply between now and next fall.
has been operating in Ottawa as a rogue vehicle-
for-hire business since 2013. According to the study that
formed the basis for the new regulations, Uber has more
than 1,500 drivers in Ottawa all of whom will have to
adhere to the new regulations by Sept. 30.
of the most contentions issues raised during Wednesdays
discussion of the new regulations was the exclusion of
Uber drivers from having to install closed circuit cameras
in their vehicles.
have been mandatory in Ottawa taxis at the expense of
the taxi owners since 2005.
not requiring Uber drivers to install CCTVs in their vehicles
and maintaining the same requirement for taxi operators,
the taxi industry believes it establishes an unlevel playing
Coun. Keith Egli summed up the sentiments of a number
of the councillors who believe requiring security cameras
in vehicles for hire is a public safety issue.
make sense. Cameras are a deterrent, said Egli.
Resi-dents want to be safe. Cameras are the best
way to ensure just that."
motion requiring Uber drivers to install security cameras
in their cars failed on a 9-15 vote. Instead, the issue
is being referred for further study over the next 12 months,
at which time it will be part of a larger review of the
did pass a motion reducing the required insurance coverage
from $5 million to $2 million for all vehicle-for-hire
operators in Ottawa. A second proposed amendment that
would have established a maximum age limit for vehicles
at 10 years rather then eight years, failed on a tie vote.
the end, the main motion allowing Uber to operate legally
passed 23-1. All three east end councillors voted in favour
of the motion. The only dissenting vote was cast by West
Carleton Coun. Eli El-Chantiry.
they can operate legally Uber most pay the city a flat
annual license fee estimated at $7,253 based on their
current size. Uber must also remit a fee of 10.5 cents
per ride. Failure to comply would subject Uber
to a minimum fine of $100,000
drivers will see their annual license fee reduced from
$170 to $96, and they will no longer have to charge a
$1.50 fee for debit and credit card transactions.
drivers would also be allowed to operate anywhere in the
City of Ottawa and taxi companies will be permitted to
implement variable pricing for fares that are pre-arranged
through an app such as e-cab.
drivers would be limited to picking customers by means
of the app only, and only Uber drivers with Ontario license
plates will be allowed to operate in Ottawa. Out-of-province
drivers would subject to heavy fines.
story was made possible thanks to their generous support
of our local business partners.)
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