News / Edmonton

Uber makes suggestions for Edmonton’s pending regulations

An Uber driver in Edmonton waits to pick up a customer.

Braeden Jones/Metro

An Uber driver in Edmonton waits to pick up a customer.

In advance of the city releasing it's own regulations for ridesharing companies in September, Uber is sharing a wish list online.

"As we are waiting what we are trying to do is get as much (information) to our riders and folks as possible," said Ramit Kar, Uber's Alberta general manager.

Last week, the company posted a list of principles and high-level recommendations in the first of a series of blog posts with its "views on smart regulations for ridesharing."

Michael van Hemmen, Uber's Manager of Public Policy in Canada, said the first key principle is safety.

He explained Uber's built-in electronic registry of drivers guarantees licensing and insurance compliance with "triggers in place" to avoid any lapses. He said the city should regulate the companies and be able to do audits on the existing registry.

"The city doesn't have to reinvent the wheel, we have this in place in every city we are operating in," he said.

Van Hemmen also wants to preserve the reliability of Uber. He hopes that regulations don't impact the model's flexible supply or pricing.

Rather than taxi-style fixed rates, van Hemmen said allowing companies to set rates leaves "pricing in the hands of the consumers" by allowing them to comparison shop.

On the question of insurance, which was highlighted by Alberta's superintendent of insurance last month as inadequate, van Hemmen said "all rides are insured," and the further regulations should be left to the province.

He said overall, it is "very promising" Edmonton is looking to put progressive regulations in place.

"It's too early to speculate on what the city will be putting forward, but we continue to provide input and hope it's listened to," he said, adding he hopes the rules will "embrace ridesharing in the city of Edmonton."

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