Uber back in business in Edmonton

Ride- service company Uber is back in business.

'Uber will create thousands of economic opportunities for Edmontonians,' spokesman says

Uber spokesperson Ramit Kar says the ride-service company is back in Edmonton. (Laura Osman/CBC)

Uber is coming back to Edmonton starting midnight July 1.

Uber's Alberta general manager Ramit Kar made the announcement Thursday at a news conference.

"Edmonton was the first Canadian city to regulate and welcome ride sharing services like Uber," Kar said. 

"Uber will create thousands of economic opportunities for Edmontonians. On this note, I'd like to commend Mayor Iveson and city council for their leadership in embracing innovation and more transportation options."

Uber stopped operating in Edmonton at the end of February after the city passed a bylaw that compelled drivers to have proper insurance.

The company said commercial insurance policies are too expensive for their drivers, so it had to wait until the province approved a policy specifically for ride-hailing companies.

On Tuesday, Transportation Minister Brian Mason confirmed that an insurance policy created especially for ride services such as Uber will be available in Alberta starting July 1.

'Unnecessary barriers' remain

Even though Uber drivers will be back on Edmonton streets, Kar said the company is still unhappy with the requirement that each driver carry an upgraded commercial driver's licence.

"While we're pleased to relaunch our operations in Edmonton today, provincial licensing requirements create unnecessary barriers for the vast majority of Albertans who are looking to use technology to share their rides and earn income," he said.

"The adopted licensing regime will mean less flexible earning opportunities and less urban mobility. Having a Class 4 requirement really does exclude millions of Albertans from being able to use ride sharing," Kar said.

Kar also predicted there will be far fewer drivers as a result of the licensing requirements.

Tapp Car to the airport

Edmonton start-up Tapp Car also announced Thursday it is now available for transportation to and from the Edmonton International Airport.

Tapp Car describes itself as a mix between Uber and a traditional taxi service.