Taxi drivers take Uber protest to City Hall
Edmonton taxi drivers took a convoy of cars downtown on Wednesday to urge city officials to crackdown on unlicensed ride services such as Uber.
"We are a regulated industry and city must implement the bylaws and kick out the illegal taxis like Uber from the city of Edmonton,” said Balraj Manhas, president of the United Cabbies Association of Edmonton.
Uber started operating in Edmonton last last month. Drivers are summoned through a smartphone app. They charge for rides but do not hold taxi licenses from the city.
The city considers Uber cars illegal for that reason. However, it remains unclear whether Uber drivers are being fined for violating the Vehicle for Hire bylaw.
The CBC has asked city staff for enforcement numbers on several occasions but has been unable to get an answer.
Taxi drivers are upset that Uber is picking up passengers and charging for rides. Manhas said safety is the main concern. .
"First thing is the safety for the public, that is the top thing for the public, so public doesn't know they don't have a commercial insurance and their cars are not inspected by the city,” he said.
One cab driver said Uber is already hurting his business.
“The illegal taxis are taking lump sum out of our business, and the people we pick up on a regular basis, they take the illegal taxis and then they complain that we are ripping them off,” Mandeev Bains said.
The Uber issue will be discussed by Edmonton city council this month.
The company said each driver must have a registered vehicle, with valid auto insurance, and pass a motor vehicle record check.