EDMONTON – Edmonton Uber users now have access to another form of transportation: upscale vehicles.
The rideshare service rolled out its uberSELECT feature in Edmonton on Monday. The option allows users to choose Mercedes, Lexus, BMW or other high-end vehicles when ordering a ride on the company’s mobile app.
The company already offers two other options in Edmonton: UberX, the least expensive service featuring everyday cars that seat four people, and UberXL, which for a higher price allows customers to order six-seater vehicles like minivans and SUVs.
“We get it – sometimes you want to impress your friends or that special someone without spending a fortune,” said a news release on the arrival of uberSELECT.
“And whether you’re headed to a meeting, the airport, or out on the town, you deserve a first-class experience.”
The company’s premium towncar limousine service, UberBLACK, is not currently available in Edmonton.
Here’s a fare comparison between uberX and uberSELECT
|Safe Rides Fee||$1.50||$1.50|
The new upscale option is just one of a host of new services Uber has began offering in Canada in recent weeks.
In Toronto, the mobile app company is experimenting with food delivery, and last week began testing a new carpooling option called uberHOP. The company said it plans to charge a $5 flat fare on fixed routes along the downtown core after the free trial was over.
Despite its popularity with tech-savvy consumers, Uber has faced fierce opposition from existing taxi services and safety scrutiny from local governments.
In Edmonton city council is trying to strike a balance between allowing a free market and making sure those taking Uber are protected in case of an accident, by creating a vehicle-for-hire bylaw.
It would create a special class of licence for private transportation providers like Uber, making them very similar to taxi drivers. The by-law would require Uber drivers to have a city licence, undergo a criminal record check, have their vehicle inspected annually and pay for commercial insurance.
WATCH: Comparing Uber to taxis in Edmonton
In November a draft of the by-law passed first reading, before being sent back to administration. Both Uber and Edmonton taxi drivers were seeking amendments to it. A report addressing several issues and the question of insurance will come back to council on January 26, 2016.
If Edmonton passes a vehicle-for-hire bylaw that incorporates ride-sharing companies, it would be the first in Canada to set such rules.
In November the federal Competition Bureau called for taxi rules to be relaxed so companies could better compete with Uber.
In a report, competition commissioner John Pecman said local and provincial governments should remove restrictions on the number of taxi licences they grant to drivers, allow people anywhere to hail rides from the curb and offer surge pricing, which Uber now uses to charge more at times when there is greater demand, such at during Halloween and New Years Eve.
With files from Emily Mertz and Slav Kornik, Global News, and The Canadian Press