News / Calgary

Uber Calgary launch: A look back at three years of ridesharing resistance

As of 2 p.m. Uber will be operational in Calgary. But it took some time to get here, Metro looks back...

Coun. Evan Woolley and Mike Commodore make up the inaugural Uber ride.

Helen Pike/ Metro

Coun. Evan Woolley and Mike Commodore make up the inaugural Uber ride.

Uber is set to resume operations in Calgary for not the second, but the third time after councillors recently approved amendments to the livery bylaw.

On Tuesday, Coun. Evan Woolley stepped out of a provided car, beaming despite the chilly weather, marking the inuagural trip and permanent return of Uber on city streets.

In a sedan driven by ex Calgary Flames player Mike Commodore, the rideshare came back in style to Calgary. And starting at 2 p.m., us common folk will be able to hitch rides with UberX through the app.

But it took a minute to get here, so with Metro's vast vault of Uber coverage, here's a timeline:

Oct. 2013

Uber launches limo services for a weekend in the city, offering to cover the mandated minimum fare of $78.30 for a one-hour limo ride. The city raises concerns over the company's operations. After Uber's trial in Calgary, they vow not to return until the "antiquated" limo bylaws are amended.

Oct. 2015

The rideshare company calls press into an embargoed meeting to tell them they're ready for a launch. The following afternoon at 2 p.m. interested riders can boot up their apps and see if there's an UberX near them, ready for pickup.

Oct. 2015

Word of the launch reaches various departments at City of Calgary. A press conference is launched, and officials warn against using the app. The loudest of which is mayor Naheed Nenshi who says: "I strongly suggest that you don’t drive for Uber and that you don’t use Uber until the insurance and regulatory issues are sorted out. If you drive for Uber, you should be aware that you are breaking the law."

Calgary taxi company unleashes its own 'bandit cab' Uber parody

Oct. 2015

Associated Cab president picks up a reporter in a beater, and drivers her to their headquarters. The "bandit cab" signifies what the cab industry thinks could happen in an unregulated market.

Nov. 2015

After handing out "numerous" tickets, in what we now know was a contracted undercover operation by three different firms (costing $21,800). The city files an injunction against Uber, who have been operating against the city's bylaw for nearly a month. The injunction is won – in a Canada first – because the city goes after drivers instead of the "technology" company.

Feb. 2016

Despite warnings from Uber, the city goes forward with a bylaw option the ridesharing company says won't work for their model. They claim the fees are too expensive upfront for part-time drivers, and urge their following to push to have council reconsider the bylaw.

Feb. 2016

The bylaw is passed, but Uber isn't happy. Although their operations are now legal in Calgary, they claim the new rideshare bylaw breaks their current model and is "unworkable."

April 2016

Yep, this happened. Need we say more?

Nov. 28, 2016

Council passes a new "pilot" for transportation network companies. This makes Uber happy, because they worked closely with the city to come up with the plan. Uber then promises to launch in early December. The city still needs to lift the injunction, but promises to do so if the rideshare company will talk about covering the costs incurred to get the injunction in place.

Dec. 6, 2016: Uber officially launches – just in time for the Christmas season.

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