Uber still pop­u­lar a year later

Most ac­tiv­ity fo­cused in down­town, re­view shows

Metro Canada (Ottawa) - - Front Page - Kieran de­la­m­ont

One year af­ter Ot­tawa city coun­cil gave Uber the green­light, city staff say they have had rel­a­tively few prob­lems and are not plan­ning to re­quire Uber driv­ers to in­stall cam­eras in their cars.

The city re­leased its oneyear re­view of the ride-hail­ing ser­vice last week, shed­ding some light on a ser­vice, which has a higher pro­por­tion of res­i­dents us­ing the ser­vice than all other Cana­dian cities.

In the first year of be­ing le­gal, Uber driv­ers gave 49 mil­lion kilo­me­tres of rides in the city. Un­sur­pris­ingly, much of the ac­tiv­ity is fo­cused on down­town, with 2.7 mil­lion trips orig­i­nat­ing in the down­town Wards 12, 14 and 17, one-third of all trips be­gin­ning in down­town and onethird end­ing there as well.

The first year of le­gal op­er­a­tion that for Uber came in like a lion, with a long and at times bit­ter dis­pute with the city’s taxi in­dus­try, largely went out like a lamb, with city staff not­ing that they are “not aware of any com­plaints from the pub­lic re­gard­ing safety or any vi­o­la­tions of the law com­mit­ted by Uber Canada.”

Uber is not re­quired to hand over its com­plaint data to the city, so the re­port is un­able to com­ment on the in­ter­nal com­plaint process the com­pany uses to han­dle dis­putes.

“The rate of com­pli­ance is very high,” said by­law chief Roger Chap­man last month. By­law of­fi­cers have been keep­ing tabs on Uber driv­ers to en­sure they are not do­ing things like ac­cept­ing cash, or hail­ing rides from the street — es­sen­tially, to make sure they aren’t act­ing like taxis.

Since they started do­ing those checks, Chap­man says that there has been less of a need for them.

“Any time you have a new li­cens­ing cat­e­gory, you see a spike in ser­vice re­quests,” he said, but that over the year “we do see a gen­eral de­cline in the need for that.”

Metro | Ot­tawa

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