Edmonton

Uber recruiting drivers in Edmonton

Uber, the controversial smartphone taxi service, is registering drivers in Edmonton even though it hasn’t yet won approval from city officials.
Jamie Moffat signed up to drive for Uber during the company's recruitment drive in Edmonton this week. (CBC )

Uber, the controversial smartphone taxi service, is registering drivers in Edmonton even though it hasn’t yet won approval from city officials.

Uber confirms that registration sessions are taking place in a hotel in downtown Edmonton.

The company has met twice with city officials. But company spokeswoman Lauren Altmin won’t commit to a launch date in Edmonton.

"It's just right now searching out interest,” she said.

City officials are open to talks with Uber, as long as the service dispatches drivers who hold taxi licences from the City of Edmonton.

Director of licensing Garry Dziwenka said the city is worried about the so-called UberX service, which uses drivers who don’t hold taxi licenses.

“With Uber X, they bypass all the city regulation and go straight to hiring the person off the street and the personal cars, as their taxis,”  Dziwenka said. “We don't know who's behind the wheel, what condition the vehicle is in.”

Despite the city’s opposition to the proposed service, people showed up at the Courtyard Marriott in downtown Edmonton on Tuesday to sign up. Jamie Moffat drives limos and delivers pizza. He wants to drive for Uber.

"Because it's a great service to offer people,” he said.

Altmin said Uber performs stringent background criminal checks.

Each person who signs up to be a driver must have have a registered vehicle, with valid auto insurance, and pass a motor vehicle record check.


 

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