Could Uber work in Edmonton? Mayor Don Iveson wants to know

Mayor Don Iveson has asked city administration for a report into whether the ride-sharing smartphone app called Uber could work in Edmonton.
Uber is seen on the iPhone of a driver. Uber has entered more than 100 markets, ranging from its hometown of San Francisco to Berlin to Tokyo. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

Mayor Don Iveson has asked city administration for a report into whether the ride-sharing smartphone app called Uber could work in Edmonton.

The app allows people to hire a ride and pay for it using their smartphone. The service is being used in larger cities such as Toronto.

Iveson saw how Uber worked when his friends used it to get a cab in Toronto. He suggests the service could help ease complaints about taxi shortages in Edmonton.

Mayor Don Iveson has seen how Uber works in Toronto and he wants to know if it could help ease Edmonton's taxi crunch. (CBC)

“It expedites the dispatch, knowing that someone is coming and it cuts the telephone-based dispatchers out of the loop,” he said.

Iveson acknowledges that taxi brokers may be upset about being cut out of the process but he thinks it is more important to improve service.

However, he only wants the service used to hire taxi drivers that are licensed by the city, not just anyone with a car who wants to give rides.

Last month, Uber met with city staff to get information about how Edmonton's taxi bylaws work. 

Administration is expected to have a report ready by January.  The city is also looking at extending public transit hours to help bar patrons and workers get home safely.

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