‘Uber’ rideshar­ing by­law mulled by town

The Drumheller Mail - - MAIL WORKS! - Kyle Smylie sub­mit­ted

Pro­tec­tive ser­vices is de­vel­op­ing an amend­ment to a by­law to po­ten­tially al­low Uber driv­ers to op­er­ate in Drumheller, but the lo­cal taxi com­pany doubts the ser­vice will take off.

Uber, a pop­u­lar ride shar­ing ser­vice where driv­ers use their per­sonal ve­hi­cles to taxi in­di­vid­u­als, does not cur­rently op­er­ate in Drumheller but the town is cur­rently re­search­ing what amend­ments should be made to the ex­ist­ing ‘liv­ery by­law’ in case there is in­ter­est in the ser­vice in Drumheller.

Coun­cil­lor Tom Zariski sits on the Taxi Com­mis­sion and up­dated coun­cil late last month on the project.

“What we’re try­ing to do is to be a lit­tle bit preemp­tive. We haven’t had any re­quest from Uber to op­er­ate in Drumheller, but we’re think­ing that it may hap­pen,” he says, adding they have been look­ing at sim­i­lar by­laws in places like Cal­gary to see how Drumheller’s ex­ist­ing liv­ery by­law, which gov­erns how taxis and chauf­feur driv­ers op­er­ate, may be changed.

Uber cur­rently has not pro­vided cov­er­age to Drumheller.

“First of all, we’re look­ing to see if Drumheller needs one, and then look­ing at what that might look like,” Zariski says.

But Clas­sic Cabz owner Dave Zora, who op­er­ates the only taxi ser­vice in town, has his doubts on Uber’s vi­a­bil­ity here.

“There’s been five com­pa­nies who went broke in the 14 years I’ve been do­ing this. There’s just not a big enough mar­ket for it, there’s not enough cash flow,” he says. “Even Fri­day and Satur­day nights aren’t very busy any more due to the re­ces­sion. You have to op­er­ate al­most 24 hours to make a liv­ing in this busi­ness here.”

To be­come a rideshar­ing driver in Cal­gary, indi- vid­u­als must have a Class 1, 2 or 4 driv­ers li­cense, pro­vide a crim­i­nal back­ground and vul­ner­a­ble sec­tor check from the RCMP, pro­vide proof of in­sur­ance and regis­tra­tion, and be al­ready af­fil­i­ated with a com­pany, plus pay a $220 li­cens­ing fee.

Zora says it’s hard enough to find ded­i­cated driv­ers in the busi­ness with the right qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

“Find­ing peo­ple who are is in­ter­ested in the po­si­tion in the first place is hard, but then you have to say wait, you have to do a phys­i­cal, an RCMP check, have a clean driv­ers ab­stract, pass a writ­ten Class 4 test, as well as a GDL li­cense,” he says.

Work on the ‘Uber amend­ments’ is in early de­vel­op­ment, with the di­rec­tor of pro­tec­tive ser­vices cur­rently be­ing away from his po­si­tion. Zora also told the Taxi Com­mis­sion has not met in over two years.

Pro­tec­tive ser­vices is be­ing preemp­tive in re­search­ing pos­si­ble amend­ments to make way for rideshar­ing ser­vices in Drumheller.

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