News / Calgary

Mayor Naheed Nenshi says request to delay Uber ‘incomprehensible’

Calgary advisory committee wants to delay bylaw changes while new cabs get road ready

Calgary's cab companies are bracing for Uber, and asking the city to help them compete, but the mayor isn't buying it.

Metro File Photo

Calgary's cab companies are bracing for Uber, and asking the city to help them compete, but the mayor isn't buying it.

Calgary’s Mayor isn’t too keen on the Livery and Transportation Advisory Committee’s last-ditch effort to help cabs compete with Uber.

In February, the city's livery bylaw was updated to allow Transportation Network Companies, but Uber pulled operations saying the bylaw was “unworkable.” The city has since come up with a fee structure option that better suits the company, and if approved by council on Nov. 28, will bring Uber’s services back.

On Friday, LTAC met for hours to talk about the city’s plan to update how it collects TNC fees. In the end, the advisory committee voted to test council’s appetite on waiting 90 days (the time it takes to get a new plate street ready) to get 220 taxis going before enacting changes in the bylaw.

“I find that argument incomprehensible,” Mayor Naheed Nenshi said Monday.

Nenshi said he doesn’t understand how adding more plates to the street will help existing drivers compete with Uber “at all.”

“I don’t see it as anything more than an increase in the stand rents that cab drivers pay to brokerages,” said Nenshi. “I’ll listen very carefully when that comes to council.”

The proposed changes mean transportation network companies would bear the brunt of the licensing costs. So, depending on the number of drivers, there’s a range of annual fees, a $15 per driver fee and a $0.20 per trip fee to round out administrative costs.

Nenshi said the “minor bylaw changes” are reasonable, and frankly the rideshare companies are right, the city did need to be flexible on their fee model.

“Back in February I said our model is a model for the whole country,” said Nenshi. “The TNCs have given in on all the important stuff, on insurance, on licensing, on the inspections, on all the stuff that surrounds safety.”

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