As part of our ongoing efforts to discuss smart ridesharing regulation in Edmonton, it is important to outline our commitment to safety, the steps we take everyday, and how cities around the world have regulated these practices for the benefit of riders and drivers.

Background Checks and Compliance

Digitally administering background checks and licensing through ridesharing companies improves compliance and efficiency.

Safety begins by defining who can become and remain a ridesharing driver-partner, and modern technology provides a secure and efficient way to ensure compliance. Every Uber driver-partner must pass a thorough background check. The digitization of local police and RCMP databases allow this to now be completed without visiting a police office. Combined with a stringent driver history review, current taxi safety standards can be met or exceeded. Uber has strict standards for what constitutes a pass, and there are numerous examples of licensed taxi drivers in Edmonton and other cities failing Uber’s background check.

Municipalities can also enhance safety and compliance by relying upon the ridesharing company’s electronic systems to only allow drivers who meet stringent criteria to offer rides. For example, should a driver’s license expire, their access to offer rides via the ridesharing app is instantaneously blocked. That is not the case with the current regulatory model, where compliance is largely based upon infrequent inspections, which may allow a transgressor to carry-on for months without action. Auditable digital record keeping, also provides cities with pertinent access to information to help achieve the goal of safe and screened drivers while not incurring added overhead.

Vehicle Inspections

Personal vehicles are not commercial and should be treated as such.

Personal vehicles are used very differently than commercial vehicles. Ridesharing driver partners have a significant incentive to keep their vehicles safe. When they are not driving on a ridesharing platform they are using those same personal vehicles to ferry around their families and friends. In addition, about half of all ridesharing driver partners drive less than 10 hours a week compared to taxis which are expected to be on the road 168 hours a week.

Regulators in other jurisdictions have recognized there is a difference between vehicles used for ridesharing and taxi, and the manner in which they are used. In doing so, they have mandated vehicle inspections similar to the 26 point inspection by provincially certified auto-mechanics currently used by Uber in Edmonton today.

Mandating Insurance

All riders and drivers need to be insured in case of an accident.

Every ride on the Uber platform is insured. Smart regulation acknowledges that ridesharing functions differently than traditional models, and that new types of similar or superior coverage have emerged. It allows drivers to enjoy the flexibility that new innovations offer, while ensuring that coverage is always in place.

The City of Edmonton has not legislated insurance provisions in its transportation bylaws. That responsibility has remained with the province, who has the technical expertise to handle insurance products. Uber is currently engaged with the provincial government, and actively collaborating with them on this matter.

Smart Regulations Promote Safety

Through smart regulations, cities can promote safety and well-being while supporting the benefits of new technologies. Since launching in Edmonton, we have maintained our commitment to providing a safe transportation alternative for riders and drivers, details which can be found here.

Our next update on smart regulations will discuss our views on reliability and how it supports job creation while enhancing mobility for all Edmontonians.

Thanks again for your ongoing support!