‘Uber’ ridesharing bylaw mulled by town
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.