January 14, 2016 2:49 pm
Updated: January 14, 2016 8:29 pm

Uber hopeful Edmonton City Council will change controversial bylaw

WATCH ABOVE: While it's still illegal, Uber is celebrating one year in Edmonton. As Fletcher Kent reports, the general manager is hopeful the company will soon be able to operate legally.

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EDMONTON – The general manager of Uber Alberta says he’s becoming more confident that Edmonton City Council will approve a vehicle-for-hire bylaw that embraces ride-sharing services.

Currently, Uber is unregulated and continues to operate illegally in Edmonton. A new bylaw, slated for debate on Jan. 26, could legitimize the company’s operations.

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READ MORE: Edmonton judge overturns decision; Uber driver heading to trial 

Ramit Kar says his discussions with city staff suggest changes to how driver fees are collected could be on the way.

The vehicle-for-hire bylaw proposed to city council in November of 2015 required Uber drivers to pay a $1,000 registration fee, Kar explained.

“What they’re shifting to is a per-trip fee and so that will be potentially shouldered by the fares collected in the trip, not necessarily by the drivers themselves,” said Kar.

“Just as long as, knock on wood, nothing changes, I’m very confident Edmonton will become the first jurisdiction to embrace ride sharing.”

There are several more hurdles to clear before ride sharing becomes legal in Edmonton.

On Nov. 17, city councillors approved first reading of the new vehicle-for-hire bylaw. It included controversial items like the $1,000 registration fee for ride-sharing drivers.

But councillors said the bylaw needed work and asked city staff to come up with more information on registration fees and insurance issues. Those will be presented to council on the Jan. 26 meeting.

City councillors will then review those ideas and decide if the bylaw needs to be changed further.

READ MORE: ‘It’s a step forward’: Edmonton council sends ride-sharing issue back to administration

Uber is also celebrating one year of operation in Edmonton.

The company’s Alberta GM says Edmontonians have embraced the ride-sharing company.

Ninety-thousand people have downloaded the Uber app and 4,000 drivers have signed up since Uber launched in the city.

More to come… 

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