Edmonton

Uber petition gets more than 6,000 signatures in Edmonton

Uber's online petition urging city council to allow the rideshare app to keep operating in Edmonton has more than 6,000 signatures one day after it was launched.

City councillor frustrated by 'unnecessary' petition

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)

City councillors say they're disappointed with Uber's decision to launch an online petition, after they agreed to work with the company on new rideshare regulations.

Uber's online petition urging city council to allow the app to keep operating in Edmonton has more than 6,000 signatures one day after it was launched.

Last week, councillors agreed to look at changing the regulations to allow companies like Uber to operate. They want Uber to cease operations in the meantime.

The company wants to keep drivers on the road and is asking people to sign a petition.

"I was hopeful that they were going to comply with council's decision and halt operations until we got to the bylaws," Coun. Micheal Oshry said. 

He said Uber's actions won't affect his decision when it comes to making the company legal under Edmonton's bylaws. But, he said, he's not about to let the company operate in the meantime. 

"Currently, the decision is about safety and the fact that Uber drivers and Uber passengers do not have any insurance," Oshry said. "For me that's a non-starter."

Uber drivers don’t hold taxi licenses from the city and operate their own vehicles, meaning they may not have the proper insurance to carry passengers for hire.

Coun. Andrew Knack said he is frustrated with Uber because he wants the company's help in drafting new rules for rideshares. 

"We're in fact likely to be the first Canadian city to ... let companies like Uber and Lyft and Sidecar operate legally," he said.

"And instead of sitting down and working with administration to develop that bylaw...they're spending time and resources, in my opinion, creating an unnecessary petition."

City lawyers have sent a letter to Uber telling them to stop operating by Saturday. If the company keeps drivers on the road, the city will then prepare an injunction. 

“The Edmonton City Council recognizes that regulations must be updated to accommodate new technology and there is a path forward,” the petition states.

“However, ordering Uber to shut down now serves no one except taxicab owners who have relentlessly lobbied to sideline new competition.”

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